Education in Switzerland
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Many countries have abandoned any hope of an efficient state education system long ago, but not Switzerland. Teachers are respected, and well paid. A high school teacher can earn up to Sfr.9,000 a month and there is a long waiting list to become one.

The school system works so well indeed that even top government and business leaders send their children to state schools.

Children begin with primary school only at age six. Based on the marks they get in their last year of primary school, they will go on to different types of secondary schools. Technical schools prepare pupils for manual occupations, whereas secondary schools lead to apprenticeships, and high schools (around 10% of the students) prepare for university. Most enroll into apprenticeship programs at 15 or 16, with a mix of weekly specialized and general classes and on-the-job training. After two to four years, candidates must pass an exam to obtain a Federal Certificate of Capacity for their trade.

At the end of high school (around age 18 or 19), the Maturité diploma is awarded (akin to the Baccalauréat in France or Abitur in Germany). Most then go on to study at university. Graduate titles command great respect in Switzerland and are readily displayed on business cards. The university attended is not very important, the Swiss being not so sniffy about those things.

However, Switzerland being Switzerland, every canton has its own syllabus, exams and vacations.

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