Upper secondary level

In 2019/20 almost 361 000 students attended an upper secondary level course. 60% were in vocational education and training and almost 28% in general education leading to an academic Baccalaureate, an upper secondary specialised school certificate or a specialised Baccalaureate. The remaining students were following a post-apprenticeship vocational Baccalaureate course (MP2), or a transitional or complementary course.

Upper secondary level students: change since 2000/01
  2000/01 2005/06 2010/11 2015/16 2019/20
Total 315 672 324 489 358 815 365 107 361 450
  Female (%) 47.8 47.5 47.7 47.7 47.2
  Foreign (%) 15.2 15.6 17.8 20.8 23.1
13 399 15 881 17 114 17 691 17 819
  Female (%) 57.7 56.1 54.7 48.6 45.7
  Foreign (%) 26.6 31.3 37.3 48.5 53.2
207 969 213 174 228 716 227 293 218 259
  Female (%) 42.3 41.7 42 41.9 40.7
  Foreign (%) 16 15.7 16.8 19.5 22.3
3 215 5 288 7 572 9 496 9 922
  Female (%) 31 44.8 47.6 48.7 50.2
  Foreign (%) 13.7 10.1 7.7 9.6 9.9
82 985 82 119 92 087 96 802 101 163
  Female (%) 59.9 60 58.8 59.5 59.8
  Foreign (%) 11 12.6 17.7 20.2 21.1
8 104 8 027 13 326 13 825 14 287
  Female (%) 54.6 57.2 60.2 59.3 57.7
  Foreign (%) 18.5 14.3 15.7 18 20.6
1 Including preparation for federal vocational baccalaureate integrated in vocational
education and training (FBV1)
2 Federal vocational baccalaureate after vocational education and training (FVB2)
Source: FSO – Statistics on pupils and students (SDL)
Data as of: February 2021

Upper secondary level is made up of two major axes. Firstly, there is vocational education and training (VET) which leads to the award of a Federal VET Diploma or a Federal VET Certificate. Secondly, there is general education which covers programmes leading to the Baccalaureate (academic, vocational, specialised) as well as courses of study in an upper secondary specialised school. Transitional and supplementary courses complete the offer at upper secondary level.
The numbers of students in upper secondary level rose by 15% between 2000/01 and 2019/20. Their distribution among the different types of training or education has remained stable throughout this period (almost two-thirds in vocational education and training, almost a quarter in general education programmes and the remaining percentage divided between the MP2 and transitional or complementary courses.

The education and training landscape at upper secondary level varies depending on the canton For the two types of education and training mostly chosen by young people, the proportion of students enrolled in vocational education and training varies between 32% (GE) and 78% (AI) of the total number of upper secondary level students, whereas the proportion of students in general education ranges between 14% (GL) and 56% (GE).

Related topics

On this topic

Vocational education and training (VET) - Schools

Federal VET diploma, certificate or not governed by the VPETA, basic vocational education, upper secondary trade schools

Vocational education and training (VET) - Apprenticeships

Federal VET diploma, federal VET certificate, basic vocational education, upper secondary trade schools

General education

Vocational baccalaureate, baccalaureate, specialised baccalaureate, upper secondary specialised schools, other programme of general education

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