The Nest

Switzerland’s School System

Hailey Krasnikov, Staff Writer

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Homework, testing, stress- this is what goes through most students’ minds when they hear the word school. However this may not be the case in a part of the world, this unique place is known as Switzerland.

Switzerland’s school system is very distinct from most school systems in the world, and ranks as one of the top systems in the world. Most of their schooling lasts from nine to eleven years, although the length of each separate school (primary, secondary, and university) is decided by the individual. This is often impacted by opportunities like apprenticeships. The authority of this school system lies in the cantons, members of the state of the Swiss Confederation.

In Switzerland the school week is impacted by the cantons but most work in similar ways anywhere you go. Most students go to school from eight-thirty to eleven-thirty, followed by a two-hour lunch break, in which the students have the option to stay in school or go home. Then, the students return to school at one-thirty, and leave at four o’clock. Some primary schools have a half day or a full day off in the week, excluding the weekend. Schools also have breaks, or “holidays”, as they call it, which add up to about 12 weeks a year, not including their other days off.

Based on these circumstances and Switzerland’s schools’ better rankings, it is a mystery to why most, if not all, schools in the United States have longer days of learning and fewer days off.

In addition to these discoveries, students in Switzerland may enjoy their schooling more, because at about eleven years old they enter secondary school. You may ask why would they be happy about that? Well, this is where students can start deciding how they want to go forth in life.

There are two main types of secondary schools: the first is mapped out to help children get into a university, while the second is focused on trade jobs. The first type of secondary school is heavier in academics, while the second would be useful to help the students get apprenticeships. This would possibly make students’ school days more joyful, seeing that  they are learning something that would assist them past secondary school. Also in the college-oriented secondary school, students can make subject choices that intrigue their interests, which may be another reason why Swiss test scores are relatively high.

Students being able to pick subject areas and schools in life paths that interest them will benefit them in the long-run, as well. This will most likely stop students from not having jobs after their schooling is done, while in the United States only one main type of schooling is offered. While this school type offers trade job-based electives, the US school type is mostly academic-based. This lessens the students’ enjoyment and benefit of learning, based on what life path they decide on.

So, Swiss schools seem to be more of an opportunity to learn and better student lives in an enjoyable fashion, rather than the stress and horribleness many students in the United States experience.

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