Transition from lower to upper secondary level

This indicator measures the transition from compulsory education to a post-compulsory upper secondary level course of education leading to a qualification. From a systemic point of view, the ideal transition takes place directly in the form of upper secondary level education and training leading to a qualification. 

From an integration perspective, a decrease in the share of persons who do not start upper secondary level education straight away indicates an improved situation.


A school leaver is any student aged 13 to 20 who was registered for compulsory schooling in the previous (school) year for the last time. Thus, school leavers from (school) year X are students who were recorded in year X-1 in lower secondary level or in special education and who have not been recorded since in this level. The following school year (X), they may have:

  • started a transitional course of education (10th school year, preparatory school or a pre-apprenticeship, motivation semester) or other training not leading to a qualification (DI basic training or INSOS practical training); or
  • started an upper secondary level course leading to a qualification in the form of basic vocational education and training in preparation for a Federal VET Certificate or Federal VET Diploma, or in a school of general education or an academic baccalaureate school; or
  • they may be absent from the education system, although, according to the Population and Household Statistics (STATPOP), they are still in Switzerland.


The reference population does not include school leavers who:

  • were not initially part of the permanent resident population in Switzerland; or
  • were following a foreign programme at compulsory school; or
  • left Switzerland without starting an education and training course leaving to a qualification at upper secondary level; or
  • left compulsory school before the 11th HarmoS year and who were under 15 years at the time of the last compulsory school registration.


The rate of immediate transition to upper secondary level indicates the percentage of school leavers who start post-compulsory education straight away.

School leavers are grouped into the following categories:

  • No immediate entry to upper secondary level
  • Transitional courses between lower and upper secondary
  • VET programmes
  • General education programmes


Federal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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