Pupils and Students

What's new?

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 48%. 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 2016/17
957 154 957 346 900 097 928 281 936 550
Upper secondary level 315 672 324 467 354 488 365 111 365 559
Tertiary level1 160 484 204 664 257 809 295 416 300 761
Level unspecified 8 358 9 660 17 420 - -
Total 1 441 668 1 496 137 1 529 814 1 588 808 1 602 870
Data as of: March 2018

1 The data for 2017/18 concerning students in higher education institutions is already available on the pages entitled "Higher education institutions".
Sources: FSO - Statistics on pupils and students (SDL) , Students and degrees of higher education (SHIS-studex)

In 2016/17 there were more than 1.6 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, declined gradually and then has been growing since 2012/13 in line with demographic trends, numbers in the upper secondary level and especially those in the tertiary level grew throughout the same period.

Further information



Federal Statistical Office Sections Educational Processes, Education System
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel
+41 58 483 93 61

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