Foreigners who emigrate to Switzerland with children are inevitably confronted with the question of whether they should send their youngsters to a private or public school.

Parents have the choice between public and private schools
Parents have the choice between public and private schools

Excellent public schools in Switzerland

The public schools in Switzerland have a first-class reputation and offer excellent education. Until a few years ago, the question was not whether to send a child to a public or private school. But times have also changed in Switzerland. Today, when more and more often both parents are working, the care needs of parents have changed considerably. And primary schools can only take these needs into account to a limited extent.

Reaction to social development

The mission of public schools has changed in an increasingly multicultural society. It is assuming more and more integration tasks, but at the same time the schools should individualise and make the pupils socially acceptable. This balancing act is challenging.

Social changes help private schools to attract more customers
Social changes help private schools to attract more customers

In addition, there is a social trend, according to which more and more parents are afraid of social decline. They are afraid that their own child will not receive optimum individual support at a public school.

Many parents fear that their child will not receive the best education at a public school and that’s why they think about a private school. But private schools cost, and not little. When children at private schools increasingly separate from children attending public schools, the social mix that makes Switzerland so special is lacking.

Private schools must meet requirements

Every private school must align its lessons with the cantonal curriculum so that the learning content is comparable to that in elementary school. Deviations from the Swiss system are only permitted in international schools. And only qualified teachers are allowed to teach at private schools.

There are no state regulations regarding pedagogy or didactic teaching as long as the psychological and religious integrity of the children is preserved. Grades and certificates are not required either, and the performance of the children can also be judged differently. A private school must, however, be able to guarantee the transfer to primary school at all times, and the children must have the same learning level as pupils of the public school. As long as the children can start an apprenticeship or change to a grammar school at the end of their compulsory schooling, school concepts that do not teach in class levels are also permitted.

Control by the state

Private schools are regularly inspected by the cantonal school authorities, otherwise they are not recognised and their offer not approved. Parents can therefore assume that all private schools whose teaching concerns the nine compulsory school years are supervised by the state and are legal.

Private schools must follow the cantonal learning plan
Private schools must follow the cantonal learning plan

There is a large number of private schools with special orientations. One of the most popular alternatives to primary schools is denominational private schools. International, foreign-language schools are also very popular. And even for parents who are critical of the school system in principle, there are non-formist options. Here is a selection of private schools and the indicative costs per school year.

School Cost per year
Villa Monte in Galgenen SZ 14’400 Fr.
Monterana-Schule in Degersheim SG per year 9300 Fr. minimum. Costs will be calculated based on parent’s income
Lindenschule in Emmen LU 19’200 Fr.
Swiss International School 24’100 Fr.
Academia International School starting at 21’500 Fr.
École Française Internationale de Berne starting at 9’800 Fr.
ÉcLycée Français de Zurich in Dübendorf ZH starting at 17’200 Fr.
Scuola Italiana Statale Bilingue in Zürich 1’100 Fr.
Privatschule A bis Z in Zürich starting at 14’500 Fr.
Christliche Schule Bern  starting at 8’300 Fr.
Freie Katholische Schule Zürich depending on income, starting at 5’300 Fr.
Salzh Schulalternative starting at 9’400 Fr.
Salta Privatschule in Gränichen AG starting at 10’500 Fr.
UNICA Schule in Liestal BL starting at 9’900 Fr.


Integration through language

Whether your kid goes to a public school or a private school. He or she will learn Swiss German in record time anyway. So that you can keep up, it’s best to sign up for our online course today.

Private or public schools in Switzerland?
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