Cantonal Responsibility

Understand which responsibilities the Cantons hold within the education system...

Provision and management of state (public) education is the responsibility of the cantons. All the public educational institutions of the cantons are administered by the cantonal departments of education. There are variations in education systems between the cantons.

Each canton has its own laws relating to schooling and a cantonal Department of Education that supervises how the commune administers pre-, primary and secondary schools.

Nevertheless, the cantons are trying to standardise their practice in the areas of compulsory schooling (duration, starting age, general curriculum) and in the recognition of equivalent certificates and diplomas.

Private (independent) schools are likewise subject to cantonal law. Pre-, primary and secondary schools are overseen by the communes, under cantonal supervision.


The communes ensure that each child can attend the state school in their commune of residence or at least the one nearest the child's home.

Information relating to pre-, primary and secondary schools (admission, rules, transportation) and to the different schools and colleges is provided by the school authorities in each commune. Information is also available from the director of education, the Pr├ęsident du D├ępartement de l'Instruction Publique of the relevant canton.

The vocational guidance services (Office d'orientation scolaire et professionnelle) of each canton can provide information on the various schools, colleges and training and specialist facilities available to a student once compulsory education is completed.