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Educational attainment, Switzerland

Codes and Frequencies

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EDUCCH indicates the person's educational attainment in Switzerland in terms of the level of schooling completed.

Comparability — General

The variable is comparable across samples; however, there are some differences in the treatment of persons undergoing schooling at the time of the census:

  • In all samples there is information available regarding educational attainment for some persons that were undergoing schooling. The proportion with information available is larger for the 1990 and 2000 samples.
  • In 1970 and 1980 those without information available were classified either as "censored, presently in school" or "unknown". Both categories are recoded as "unknown" in the harmonized variable.
  • In 1990 and 2000 those without information available were classified only as "unknown".

In order to retain most data on educational attainment, those undergoing schooling with information available were included in EDUCCH. In addition, an alternative unharmonized variable is available for each sample which codes all persons presently in school into a single distinct category.

The education system in Switzerland is responsibility of the cantons, which implies different structures for each of them. Compulsory education has 9 years of length, typically including 6 years of primary and 3 years of lower secondary, though length for each level could vary for some cantons. The primary level usually begins at age 6.

After completing compulsory education, students could continue to upper secondary, which lasts for 2 to 4 years and has the options of general education or vocational education. General education is offered at matura schools and specialized middle schools, while vocational education could be either organized as an apprenticeship or full-time vocational school.

The variable refers to teacher training education within upper secondary general. Even though in the current system all teacher training is offered at the tertiary level (universities of teacher education), previously teachers were trained in teacher seminars at the upper secondary level.

The tertiary level comprises higher vocational education and universities. Higher vocational education is non-university based, and it prepares students in specific occupational fields.


  • Persons age 15+


  • Switzerland: 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000