Access to education


Country Report: Access to education Last updated: 30/06/23


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Basic education is mandatory until the age of 16 and has to be available to all children in Switzerland. The cantons are responsible for the system of school education and state schools are free of charge.[1] As long as the children are accommodated in a federal reception centre (first phase of the procedure), schooling is mainly organised within the centres. To meet the requirements of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, particularly as regards access to education until the age of 18, law and practice would need be adjusted. In particular, for teenagers who arrive just at or above the age of 16 years, it can be difficult to find a place of education.[2] No major obstacles are known to us regarding the access to education until the age of 16.

Recognised refugees have the same rights concerning access to education as Swiss nationals, including special education for people with disabilities. According to the Federal Constitution, cantons shall ensure that adequate special needs education is provided to all children and young people with disabilities up to the age of 20. As the system of school education depends on the canton, the implementation differs. Refugees can also apply for scholarships for higher education. It must be noted that normally, when being granted a scholarship, social assistance will be cut.[3]




[1] Article 62 Federal Constitution.

[2] For further information: Report on “Access to education regardless of legal status” by the Swiss Observatory for on asylum and foreigner law (SBAA), 2021, available in German (and French) at:

[3] See for further information (in English):

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection