General education

General education covers the three types of baccalaureate as well as courses in one of the upper secondary specialised schools. The academic Baccalaureate is awarded, depending on the canton, after three or four years, the vocational Baccalaureate is awarded either during or after initial vocational education and the specialised Baccalaureate is awarded one year after the specialised diploma.

Students in general education programmes, change in numbers since 2000/01
  2000/01 2005/06 2010/11 2015/16 2017/18
Total 86 200 87 407 99 757 106 298 109 098
  Female (%) 58.8 59.1 58.0 58.5 58.6
  Foreign (%) 11.1 12.5 16.9 19.3 19.5
3 215 5 288 7 670 9 496 9 568
  Female (%) 31.0 44.8 47.8 48.7 49.6
  Foreign (%) 13.7 10.1 8.0 9.6 9.5
66 888 68 040 70 821 70 501 71 076
  Female (%) 55.0 56.4 56.2 57.0 57.0
  Foreign (%) 10.9 12.0 11.8 13.6 14.1
9 368 13 041 13 059 14 890 16 102
  Female (%) 79.9 78.4 75.0 73.2 71.8
  Foreign (%) 17.7 16.6 19.8 21.9 21.3
- - 1465 2824 3354
  Female (%) - - 81.6 78.3 76.6
  Foreign (%) - - 11.9 16.6 15.4
5 993 332 - - -
  Female (%) 83.4 82.2 - - -
  Foreign (%) 2.0 2.4 - - -
736 706  522  761  783
  Female (%) 56.7 59.5 58.2 54.5 50.8
  Foreign (%) 9.9 9.5 15.5 14.3 14.4
- - 6 220 7 826 8 215
  Female (%) - - 50.2 50.0 49.7
  Foreign (%) - - 81.7 78.2 76.8
1 Federal vocational baccalaureate after vocational education and training (VB2) Source: FSO – Statistics on pupils and students (SDL)
Data as of: February 2019

In 2017/18, almost 109 100 students were enrolled in a general education programme. 59% of them were young women and 20% were of foreign nationality. The majority of students enrolled in this type of education are in a school leading to an academic Baccalaureate (65%) or in an upper secondary specialised school (18%, including specialised Baccalaureate). Overall, the number of young people enrolled in a general education course rose by 27% between 2000/01 and 2017/18.

The three specific options most frequently chosen in baccalaureate schools in 2017/18 were Economy and law, Modern Language and Biology and chemistry. The Physics and applied mathematics option showed the greatest proportion of young men whereas the Visual arts option was chosen mainly by young women.

The three occupational fields with the most students in upper secondary specialised schools (including specialised baccalaureate) were Health care, Education and Social work. With one exception (Sport), young women are in the majority in all courses in this type of school.

With regard to post-apprenticeship vocational Baccalaureates, the options1 Economy and services, Technology, architecture, life sciences and Health/social care are the most popular. The Technology, architecture, life sciences option shows the highest percentage of young men, the Health/social care one the highest percentage of young women.

1 New options according to BMV (Federal vocational Baccalaureate Ordinance) 2009 collected from 2015/16

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