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Why Switzerland is Home to the Best Schools in the World

Updated 18 May 2023

The 2022 Centi-Millionaire Report, a first of its kind global wealth study, revealed that 9 of the 10 most expensive schools worldwide are international schools in Switzerland. Reflecting on the exceptional standards these Swiss institutions embody, we delve into what makes this nation's education unparalleled.

The country is well recognised as a global leader in education, which has helped Switzerland cement its place as one of the world's wealthiest countries. Switzerland also frequently ranks highly for its exceptional quality of life. 

We explore what makes learning in Switzerland a wonderful experience.

Switzerland’s education system

Both public and private education in Switzerland is generally excellent, and the country’s education system was ranked first in the world in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Human Capital Report. Switzerland has four schooling stages, including kindergarten, primary, secondary and tertiary. Compulsory education lasts between nine and 11 years, with differences in each canton. 

Public education in Switzerland is tax funded and decentralised. Each canton oversees the administration of its education system, meaning there may be differences in curriculum and the school calendar throughout the country. Still, academic excellence remains a key feature in all the cantons.

What makes Switzerland’s education system unique?

A standout characteristic of the Swiss education system is the flexibility offered to students. Secondary education in the country is divided into compulsory Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary, which allows students to choose between a vocational or academic path. Despite what students pick, there is always an opportunity to move between the different paths through more education.

Swiss Baccalaureate and specialised high schools are known for being notoriously challenging to get into. Baccalaureate high schools offer a continuation of Lower Secondary subjects for a further three to six years, depending on the canton, with the addition of law and economics. Students who pass their Baccalaureate can then enrol into universities. This sets the precedent for academic excellence and makes graduates from these institutions among the most sought-after experts globally.

What makes Switzerland's international schools the best in the world?

Some of the top and priciest international schools in the world, including prestigious institutions such as the Institut auf dem Rosenberg, Institut Le Rosey, THINK Global School and The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), are located in Switzerland. These schools offer a well-rounded education with a strong focus on individual student success, robust pedagogical approaches and extracurricular activities.

Innovation and discipline

Schools such as THINK Global School, the world’s first travelling high school, offer its students project-based learning where they have the opportunity to live and learn in four countries every year. This school is representative of Switzerland’s pioneering nature, as it offers expats an alternative and innovative way of learning that recognises students’ autonomy and individualism.

Holistic student development

International schools in Switzerland such as TASIS place equal importance on academics and the arts and culture, with TASIS students getting the opportunity to have their artworks displayed with those of established artists at their annual Spring Arts Festival.

Switzerland’s picturesque natural landscape lends itself to becoming a beautiful ground for adventurous extracurriculars that may not all be possible anywhere else in the world. The top international schools in Switzerland offer options such as yoga, skiing, yachting, horse riding and skydiving, leading to a distinctive learning experience for students. 

Excellent teaching staff

Switzerland’s local teachers are among the most qualified, highly regarded and well paid globally. As a result, the country attracts top teaching talent from around the world, which further contributes to making its schools the world's best.

Switzerland’s amalgamation of student-centred education policies, professional educators and focus on holistic student growth comes together to create a highly educated society.

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