Private versus state schools

Which school should you send your child to?

Private versus state schools

In Switzerland, more than 90% of the children go to public schools, which are rated among the best worldwide. About 20% of the Swiss population is foreign, and you will have a choice of bilingual schools, international schools, boarding schools and foreign schools. These schools can be either public or private.

Besides state schools, you will find a large range of private schools (Privatschulen, écoles privées) in Switzerland. They are very different in terms of prices, curriculum and quality; as with schools in other countries, prestigious private schools in the biggest cities are the most expensive. Irrespective of the school, state schools will always be cheaper than a private school.

Due to the large foreign population, there is a wide range of private international, bilingual and foreign schools available, especially in the big cities. You can find French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Swedish schools. For more information about private schools, please check the Swiss Federation of Private Schools' website .

Before applying for a private school, you should check its reputation, teaching methods, fees, curriculum, extra curricular activities, student turnover and the teacher qualifications. It is also important to visit the school, talk with the teachers, the students and their parents (if possible) in order to feedback about the school's quality.

Differences to state schools

Compared to state schools, private schools enjoy privileges like smaller classes, less rigid rules and a multicultural environment. However, there are fewer private schools in Switzerland than in the other OECD countries. If you child is in a state school, your child may be better-integrated into the Swiss community.

Further reading

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