Scenarios for higher education institutions – Students and graduates

Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is currently having a significant effect on many aspects of daily life and on the behaviour of those involved in the education system, i.e. individuals, companies and institutions.

The 2020-2029 scenarios try to take into account the impact of these changes on the number of students and qualifications. To this end, the impacts of the economic situation on the past behaviour of stakeholders in education have been analysed and the hypotheses used have been put out to consultation.

Nevertheless, major uncertainties remain, such as the actual impact of the pandemic and the development of the pandemic or the economic situation. With regard to short-term developments, the scenarios must therefore be interpreted with caution, as they reflect the current state of knowledge in a context full of uncertainty. Long-term developments should be less affected by the COVID-19 crisis, as they are more affected either by demographic development or by structural developments.

New scenarios

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic situation, holders of a Swiss matura are expected to move to higher education institutions more quickly in 2020 and 2021. According to the reference scenario of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), there would then be sustained annual increases in the number of university students in 2020 (+2%) and 2021 (+1.7%), followed by a very moderate increase in 2022 (+0.3%). The number of students should therefore increase on average by 1.3% a year and will thus reach 293 300 in 2029 (257 500 in 2019), i.e. an increase of 13.9% over the period 2019-2024 (+13.2% at universities and institutes of technology UIT, +13.8% at universities of applied sciences UAS and +19.3% at universities of teacher education UTE).

In terms of new graduates, the most considerable increases over 10 years should be seen in Technology of Information and communication at the UIT (+100% of master's degrees awarded between 2019 and 2029, i.e. +440 graduates), in Personal services at the UAS (+40% of bachelor’s degrees awarded, i.e. +340 graduates) and in the teaching for pre-school and primary level course at the UTE (+23% of bachelor’s degrees awarded, i.e. +630 graduates).

Statistical sources and concepts


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