International cooperation in education is becoming increasingly important and prevalent. People of all age groups and institutions at all education levels and sectors of the Swiss education system now have a wide range of international cooperation opportunities to choose from. A characteristic feature of the exchange of people and ideas at the start of the 21st century is the fact that these processes take place and continuously develop at various levels. Switzerland mainly pursues cooperation at EU level in all areas of education as well as international cooperation in the area of vocational and professional education and training (IC-VPET).
Switzerland pursues international cooperation in education both bilaterally and multilaterally, covering a wide range of topics and instruments:
- International mobility in education: this primarily entails participation on project-per-project basis at Erasmus+, implementation of a national qualifications framework as well as involvement in other instruments to encourage international mobility.
- International cooperation in vocational and professional education and training (IC-VPET): in addition to supporting the acquisition of international competences through exchange and mobility programmes, SERI also seeks to create favourable conditions for the transfer and exchange of expertise in the area of vocational and professional education and training. Instruments include the international VPET Congress in Switzerland as well as bilateral VPET-cooperation initiatives with the USA, India and South Africa. SERI is also part of efforts to develop the Apprenticeship Toolbox, which is intended to provide detailed information about various dual-track VET systems in Europe. Activities are coordinated as needed with other federal agencies pursuing IC-VPET initiatives. SERI also uses IC-VPET activities to promote international recognition of Swiss vocational and professional qualifications (recognition of foreign qualifications).
- Other activities help to improve international networking or help to ensure the excellent quality of training given to people of various age groups: SERI supports international networking in the area of continuing education as well as young researchers and it also provides individual scholarships and grants and works with Institutes for Advanced Study (IAS) in different countries.
- Finally, SERI takes part in international discussions on education within the framework of activities of the OECD, UNESCO or the Council of Europe. The various initiatives and projects of these organisations provide strong momentum for international cooperation in education.