The Swiss education system follows the principle of subsidiarity, which is typical for a federalistic system. The three political authorities - Confederation, cantons and communities - are sharing the tasks. The responsibility however, lies mainly with the cantons.

  • Confederation

    At federal level the tasks are mainly perceived by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research).

  • Cantons

    At the cantonal level the responsibility in the education system lies with the 26 Swiss cantonal education departments. Each canton disposes of its own legislation, which may lead to significant differences between the cantons.

  • Municipalities

    Schools are run by the local municipalities. Because education is locally rooted, tailor-made solutions can be implemented.

  • Collaboration Confederation - cantons

    At the intercantonal level the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK ) is responsible for the national coordination in education and culture policies. The EDK acts in a subsidiary way in fulfilling tasks which cannot be handled by the regions or the cantons. For the Confederation the EDK is the negotiating partner for the fields of education they share the responsibility in and it represents the cantons abroad in matters concerning education and culture.

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Last update of this page: 31.10.2015