What is the difference between lower-secondary and upper-secondary level?
Swiss compulsory education is comprised of primary school and lower-secondary school, which is also referred to as lower-secondary level.
Lower-secondary level is followed by upper-secondary level, which is considered post-compulsory education. In Switzerland, there are two main sectors at upper-secondary level: general education (baccalaureate schools and specialised schools) and vocational education and training (vocational schools).
What is the difference between tertiary-level A and tertiary-level B?
These are obsolete terms that used to be used to distinguish between two sectors at tertiary level in Switzerland:
‘Tertiary-level A’ was the previous term used to refer to the Swiss higher education sector, which is comprised of two federal institutes of technology (ETHZ and EPFL), ten cantonal universities, seven public and two private universities of applied sciences and a large number of universities of teacher education. The Swiss higher education sector offers Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and PhDs. Admission to federal institutes of technology and cantonal universities is generally open to graduates of baccalaureate schools (i.e. holders of the academic baccalaureate); admission to universities of applied sciences is generally open to graduates of vocational schools who obtain the federal vocational baccalaureate in addition to the standard Federal VET Diploma; holders of the academic baccalaureate or specialised baccalaureate may also enrol in Swiss UAS but admission is usually subject to additional admission requirements; admission to universities of teacher education is generally open to holders of the academic baccalaureate or to holders of the specialised baccalaureate who specialise in pedagogy.
‘Tertiary-level B’ was the previous term used to refer to non-university education and training at tertiary level, which in Switzerland is called ‘professional education’. The Swiss professional education sector is comprised of preparation for federal professional examinations (leading to issuance of a tertiary-level professional qualification) and tertiary-level study programmes at professional education institutions (which lead to issuance of a tertiary-level professional qualification). Generally speaking, the Swiss professional education sector offers graduates of Swiss vocational schools the opportunity to pursue more advanced training in their field.