Switzerland Children and School

By | June 12, 2021

Each canton decides for itself

School attendance is compulsory for eleven years in Switzerland. The Swiss call this “school compulsory”. The individual cantons also have the say when it comes to school policy, which is so similar with us, because schools are the responsibility of the individual federal states and not the federal government.

That is why there are always arguments because the federal states do not want to be influenced by their decisions. It is similar in Switzerland. And every school then draws up its rules again, as you can see in the photo.

Primary school, sec, s’Gymi

In most cantons, children have to go to kindergarten. Most little Swiss therefore go to kindergarten for two years. Then they come to school. However, in many cantons in Switzerland, compulsory schooling does not begin until the age of seven. There are few countries that enroll their children so late in school. Primary school in Switzerland is called primary school and lasts six years in almost all cantons.

Secondary school then begins. Sometimes this is also called Realschule or District School. Many also say “Sek” for a short time. Afterwards the children attend a kind of grammar school, which in Switzerland is often called d`Kanti (the canton school) or s`Gymi. The Swiss Abitur is called the Matura.

What does a typical Swiss school day look like?

In Switzerland, not only do children and their parents not have to pay any money for books, but the school also provides the exercise books and writing implements. Incidentally, there are mostly female teachers in primary schools in Switzerland, male teachers are even rarer than here.

School until 4 p.m.!

In Germany, children usually go to primary school until 1 p.m. If the teacher falls ill, the core time support takes over. In Switzerland, lessons last until 4 p.m., school is only free on Wednesday afternoons. But it can happen that a teacher simply divides the class and then sends the other half home. Lucky when someone is home.

Schwyzerdütsch or High German?

Standard German is mandatory – at least in German-speaking Switzerland. But sometimes it stays with Schwyzerdütsch, which the children know better. This is handled differently from school to school.

By the way, there are also cartoons in translation and then “Der kleine Eisbar” is called “dr Chliine Isbär” and the fairy tales are the “Märlis”. Audio CDs are also translated into Schwyzerdütsch with great pleasure. We also have translations of “Asterix and Obelix” in Swabian, Saxon, Low German or New Hessian. “Asterix conquers Rome” has already been translated into Bavarian.

What comes after school

Many children in Switzerland drop out of school after the ninth grade. And they then do an apprenticeship, often in a commercial profession. This is not unusual. While most parents in Germany want to send their children to grammar school so that they can take the Abitur and then study, the Swiss are obviously not so desirable. An education outside of the university is just as acceptable to many and not everyone necessarily needs a high school diploma. Check answermba to see schooling information in other European countries.

Switzerland today

Today Switzerland is a federal state with 26 cantons. These cantons have their roots in history. They are the cantons that were already united in the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss cantons are similar to the German federal states, but have a lot more independence because they can enact their own laws. Switzerland is a federal state, which means that it consists of individual federal states.

Switzerland is in the middle of Europe, but it is not a member of the European Union. That is why the Swiss also have their own currency, the Swiss franc. But there are always discussions about whether the Swiss should join the European Union after all. But within Switzerland the number of opponents of the EU is higher than that of supporters.

Switzerland Children and School


What prejudices do Germans actually have against the Swiss and vice versa?

Germans have a lot of prejudice against the Swiss and vice versa. It is often said that Germans are not that popular in Switzerland. They are loud and take away the jobs of the Swiss. They didn’t speak Swiss German and wanted the Swiss to speak Standard German. The Germans see the Swiss as closed and would feel their rejection. Newspapers and magazines report on this, and there are also scientists who work on this topic. But is that true now?

We do not know it. There are Germans who like to live and work in Switzerland and feel welcome there, and there are Swiss who appreciate their work colleagues because they know that they are important. There are certainly others who may be afraid, and there are also Germans who are not nice at all, just as there are Swiss who are unfriendly. So when you hear or read something like this, just form your own picture and decide for yourself. And German and Swiss children have the opportunity to talk to each other, even if it may not be easy at first. There are dialects in Germany too. Not every Bavarian understands a Saxon or a Hamburger straight away (and vice versa). And every nation has its idiosyncrasies, lovable and strange.

And in the end it always depends on the people and it doesn’t matter what nationality they are.