General education

In 2019/20, almost 111 100 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 (64%) or in an upper secondary specialised school (19%, including specialised Baccalaureate).

Students in general education programmes, change in numbers since 2000/01
  2000/01 2005/06 2010/11 2015/16 2019/20
Total 86 200 87 407 99 659 106 298 111 085
  Female (%) 58.8 59.1 58 58.5 58.9
  Foreign (%) 11.1 12.5 16.9 19.3 20.1
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
66 888 68 040 70 821 70 501 71 300
  Female (%) 55 56.4 56.2 57 57.6
  Foreign (%) 10.9 12 11.8 13.6 14.8
9 368 13 041 13 059 14 890 17 145
  Female (%) 79.9 78.4 75 73.2 70.7
  Foreign (%) 17.7 16.6 19.9 21.9 21.4
. . 1 465 2 824 3 591
  Female (%) . . 81.6 78.3 75.7
  Foreign (%) . . 11.9 16.6 14.7
5 993  332 . . .
  Female (%) 83.4 82.2 . . .
  Foreign (%) 2 2.4 . . .
736 706 522 761 698
  Female (%) 56.7 59.5 58.2 54.5 52.9
  Foreign (%) 9.9 9.5 15.5 14.3 17.5
. . 6 220 7 826 8 429
  Female (%) . . 50.2 50 49.9
  Foreign (%) . . 81.7 78.3 77.7
1 Federal vocational baccalaureate after vocational education and training (VB2) Source: FSO – Statistics on pupils and students (SDL)
Data as of: February 2021

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.
Overall, the number of young people enrolled in a general education course rose by 29% between 2000/01 and 2019/20. Compared to the previous year, the general trend in the number of students was stable (+1.1%).

The three specific options most frequently chosen in baccalaureate schools in 2019/20 were Economy and law, Biology and chemistry and Modern Language. 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 two exceptions (Sport and Natural Sciences), 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, Health/social care and Technology, architecture, life sciences 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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