The State School System
The cantonal school system is widely represented in all the communes where you can find local schools and high schools. Children must attend the local school of the commune they reside in.
Education is organized and funded on a cantonal basis. The overall system is the same throughout the canton of Geneva, differing from other Cantons, even other French-speaking Cantons. Two characteristics in the Geneva public sector: children come home for lunch (but school restaurants are available) and school schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for Primary sections and Wednesdays morning in addition to these days for Secondary sections.
Children residing in Geneva may begin school at the age of four or five (première et deuxième enfantine). Instruction at this level is not compulsory. However, attendance is mandatory when a child is enrolled. This may be a separate institution or part of the primary school. Tuition and school equipment is usually free. Some kindergarten schools may require a nominal charge.
Then, compulsory school begins at the age of six (école primaire) and continues until children are 15 (cycle d’orientation).
At that stage, instruction is not compulsory (enseignement post-obligatoire). Children will opt either to do an apprenticeship or continue school (école secondaire) to sit the Swiss Maturity (equivalent of High School finals, A levels or the baccalaureate).
Almost half the students at the secondary school level in Geneva are foreigners - so there is no need to be concerned that your child will feel isolated! There are special classes to help integrate non-French speaking students.
In the Maturity stream, students will choose a specific option (Languages, Mathematics and Experimental Sciences, Human Sciences and Arts) as well as a complementary option in addition to seven fundamental fields.
The academic year in Geneva begins in late August and ends the first week of July. There is a one week vacation in October, two weeks at Christmas, a week in February, about two weeks at Easter and about eight weeks during summertime.
Summer school does not exist in the state school system.
The Private School System
Private Education in Switzerland is offered in a truly international environment, for although one in seven children in Switzerland attend private school over 30,000 of these are non-Swiss. Both day and boarding schools are to be found of various sizes ranging from 16 to 2,000 pupils.
You can find a list of approved schools section on the AGEP (Association Genevoise des Ecoles Privées) website: www.agep.ch
The most well-known private schools with US and English programs include:
Offers classes from pre-school to grades 12 (US college boards) 13 (Baccalaureate and Swiss Federal Maturity) on three campuses with instruction in English and/or French:
- La Grande Boissière, 62, route de Chêne, Geneva (Left Bank).
Phone : 022 736 71 30
Pre-school to grade 13.
- La Châtaigneraie, 2, rue de la Ferme, Founex (Canton of Vaud, Right Bank).
Phone : 022 776 24 31
Pre-school to grade 13.
- Pregny-Rigot, 11, avenue de la Paix, Geneva (Right Bank, English only).
Phone: 022 733 50 30
Pre-school to grade 6
74, rte Sauverny, 1290 Versoix (Canton of Geneva, Right Bank)
Phone : 022 755 25 55
Offers a coeducational international boarding and day school from age 3 to 19 (from kindergarten to secondary level). Children may prepare US College Entrance, British IGCSE and GCE A-Levels, Swiss Maturité or French Baccalauréat.
36, rte de Malagny, 1294 Genthod (Canton of Geneva, Right Bank)
Phone: 022 755 18 55
Day school for children from age 4 to 12 (primary level).
37, av. du Petit-Lancy, Petit-Lancy (Left Bank)
Phone : 022 792 09 11
24, av. Eugène-Lance, Petit-Lancy (Left Bank)
Phone: 022 794 26 20 in Petit-Lancy,
They both cater for French children.
Avenue des sports, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire (in nearby Ferney-Voltaire over the border)
Phone: 0033 4 50 40 00 00
As it gives priority to children residing in France and children of CERN employees, it is highly recommended to ensure that admission is possible BEFORE choosing to reside in Geneva.
It has two sites in Geneva:
26 b, Av. Henri-Golay
CH - 1219 Genève
T. +41 (0)22 796 09 47
6, Ch. Champ-Claude
CH - 1214 Vernier
T. +41 (0)22 795 07 10
F. +41 (0)22 795 07 19n
Provides German school programs from kindergarten to University entrance.
2bis, rue de la Prulay, 1217 Meyrin
Phone: 022 782 65 00
Offers Swedish education programs.
· The Russian School www.ecrusgeneve.ch
(The High School at the Permanent Mission of Russian Federation to the UN, Geneva)
15, avenue de la Paix, Geneve, Suisse, 1202
Теl (41)022 733 8325
Offers Russian education Programmes.
Most of these schools do have bus pick-up facilities for children.
There are many private schools in and around Geneva. To help you make the right choice, you may wish to contact the advisory office of:
3, Christoffelgasse, 3011 Bern
Phone: 031 328 40 50
Swiss Education Center
3, rue du Midi, 1003 Lausanne
Phone: 021 311 30 89.
There are camps for children organized by the city of Geneva for different interest groups.
Information for these can be obtained from your child's school. There is an international camp in English which offers a range of activities. International summer resident camps are organized in Switzerland, Austria, England, Southern France and the USA.
At these camps, there are several programs available; among these are: tennis, golf, multi-sports, computer studies and foreign languages. For more details regarding these holiday camps, call:
· Villages camps, 1296 Coppet (022 776 20 59)
· Secteur des centres de vacances, Service des loisirs de la jeunesse, DIP www.ge.ch/slj/
19 route des Franchises, 1203 Genève
Phone: 022 546 21 50
14, rue du Village suisse, 1205 Genève 8
Phone: 022 809 49 79
17 rue Dassier, 1201 Genève
Phone: 022 734 25 25
The camps are open during October, Christmas, Easter and the summer holidays. Open air centers (centres aérés) also provide supervised activities during the summer holidays.
Universities / Further Education:
Switzerland has over 50 private colleges and University level institutions. There are business and commercial colleges, hotel and tourism schools, technical colleges and a multitude of opportunities to complete full-time, part-time or external studies.
Naturally, postgraduate studies are offered and Switzerland boasts some world renowned institutions. About 15 % of Swiss students attend higher education establishments.
There is, at this stage, no numerus clausus on admission to University studies for foreign students. For University level studies, there are both English and French programs available in many disciplines in the canton of Geneva.
24, rue du Général-Dufour (Left Bank)
Phone: 022-705 71 11
Open to students of all nationalities, although foreigners must have a student permit. Most courses are held in French. Some can be audited for a small fee. The Guide de l’Auditeur may be obtained from the Uni des Bastions, Uni Dufour or the Secrétariat. There is also a program for senior citizens called UNI III - UNI Foundation
Phone: 022-705 70 42.
Université de Genève also offers an MBA program focusing on international management issues and taught in French and in English. It consists of lectures, case studies, individual and group assignments. Small classes encourage team work and intercultural exchange.
Besides the Faculties of Law, Literature, Medicine, Psychology, Education, Sciences and Economics, the University of Geneva also houses a School of Architecture and a School of Translation and Interpretation. The School of French Literature and Civilization is designed for non-native French speakers. Institutes within the University include the Institute of International Studies in 12, rue de Lausanne) 022-731 17 30, the Institute of Development Studies in 24, rue de Rothschild ) 022-731 59 40 and the International Academy of the Environment (4, chemin de Conches ) 7022-89 13 11.
During the summer vacation, a series of 3-week, intensive French-language courses are available.
Universities / Further Education (cont'd):
Phone: 022-774 24 52
Right bank, offers accredited BA, BS, MA and MBA degrees in an international setting. This is a branch of the American college located in St. Louis, Missouri.
· European University hhtp://www.euruni.be
, 10, ch. de Champ-Claude, 1214 Vernier ) 022-939 04 30 and also, «Les Bosquets», route de Fontanivent, 1817 Montreux ) 41 21 - 964 84 64 provides an American approach within a European environment for the study of business administration. The main degrees offered are the BBA and the MBA. The first program is eight semesters long, whereas the MBA lasts one year (2 years part-time) Executive MBA programs are offered on Saturdays for students with professional activities. Among the main courses taught are marketing, accounting, human resources, information systems, international management, civil and international law, economics, etc.
In addition, 70% of young people in Switzerland start working and learn a trade by undertaking an apprenticeship or vocational training.
This is a combination of on-the-job training and further education for a period of between 2 and 4 years. The employer pays the apprentice a small salary and is responsible for training the young person on the job for part of the week. The remainder of the week, the apprentice attends school.
An apprenticeship can be undertaken in almost any vocation which does not require University studies.
Choosing a School:
The following questions may help you in your decision-making process between a cantonal and an International school:
· What value do you place on your child learning French, either to remain within a French-speaking culture or as a chance to become bilingual?
· How long do you expect to be living in Switzerland?
· What is the age of the child? What will be the impact (if any) of different systems or of learning different things?
· How flexible is the child to new situations? What way of learning is best for the child? Or what new way of learning might be a good experience?
· What value do you place on an easier adjustment to your new living situation?
· How comfortable are you as parents in dealing with French-speaking schools? Is the school used to parents with your ability (or lack of) in French? Are there other parents who can help you?
· In a French-speaking school, what programs are there for foreign students? What other kinds of programs (such as assistance with homework) might help?
· What will be the impact of the school schedule on your life, particularly lunchtime? What lunchtime, after-school, or vacation options are actually available for your child's age, at his/her school, or in your community?
· What are the real costs for private schools? What extras will you need to budget for? What do you pay if you withdraw a child?
· What have been the recent experiences of other families with the particular school?
If, after several years' experience in a different system, you send your child to a Swiss school (state or private), you may find this is an area of considerable culture shock.
If the school selected is an international school, here is a short check-list of considerations :
· Fees and extras?
· How flexible is the curriculum and is it suitable for your child’s long-term needs?
· What subjects does the curriculum include?
· What sport facilities are offered?
· What medical facilities are offered?
· What school reports are provided?
· What nationality are the teachers and what are their qualifications?
· What nationality are the pupils? How many children per class?
· Is the school a member of one of the Swiss private school associations?