Pupils and Students

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The statistics of people in education cover all teaching levels in the Swiss education system, from compulsory education to tertiary level. They present the number of pupils and students by socio-demographic aspects and their distribution across the different fields, institutions and education levels.

Entry to the Swiss education system generally begins at the age of 4. 48% of children at this age attend infant school. This share increases to 98% among children aged 5. Compulsory education ends with completion of the lower secondary level. Most pupils are 16 when they finish compulsory education. More than 90% remain in the education system and most continue onto higher secondary level education. The percentage of pupils pursuing education and training at this level is very high among the 16 to 18 age group. From the age of 19 onwards, this percentage falls to 49%. Tertiary level courses are generally started from the age of 19 onwards.

The main figures

Overview of people participating in education
  2000/01 2005/06 2010/11 2015/16
Compulsory education 957 154 957 346 900 238 928 268
Upper secondary level 315 672 324 467 354 347 365 171
Tertiary level1 160 484 204 666 257 809 295 353
Level unspecified 8 358 9 660 17 420 0
Total 1 441 668 1 496 139 1 529 814 1 588 792
Footnote:
1 The data for 2016/17 concerning students in higher education institutions are available on the pages entitled "Higher education institutions".
Sources: FSO - SDL, SIUS

In 2015/16 there were more than 1.5 million pupils and students in Switzerland, representing almost a fifth of the country's population. Roughly half of people in education are women and almost a quarter are of foreign nationality. 58% of people in education are in compulsory schooling, 23% at upper secondary level and 19% at tertiary level.

Two trends have marked the growth in the number of pupils and students since the beginning of the millennium. Whereas the number of pupils in compulsory education first stagnated and then declined gradually in line with demographic trends, numbers in the upper secondary level and especially those in the tertiary level grew throughout the same period.

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Federal Statistical Office Sections Educational Processes, Education System
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel
Switzerland
Tel.
+41 58 463 60 11

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