Canton school

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Cantonal school
(grammar school, middle school, college, lycée , liceo )
Country Switzerland
Type of school (general) secondary school
ISCED level 3A
School board Cantons
requirement Secondary school diploma , entrance examination
Duration 3–4 years (KZG) or 6 years (LZG)
Levels : 11-14 . or 9.-13. School level
Standard age 16–19 or 13–18
Graduation Matura
Focus numerous focal points
number 170 (2003)
student 63,400 (2003)

Auditorium of the Lucerne Cantonal School
First Zurich canton school building; today part of the University of Zurich
The former canton school Zurich, color aquatint from the 19th century

The canton school is a Swiss grammar school or French college that is run as a secondary school by a canton . The graduation takes the form of a high school diploma and entitles you to study at Swiss universities and technical colleges , sometimes with a numerus clausus . During the compulsory school period , the canton school only includes the lower secondary school.

In Switzerland, the proportion of women has been greater than the proportion of men since 1993/1994 and in 2003/2004 was 56 percent. In 2004 around 16,000 Matura certificates were issued.


The so-called short-term high school follows on from the second or third secondary class and lasts four years. Some cantons also have a so-called long-term grammar school, which follows directly on from the 6th grade of primary school and accordingly lasts six years. Both variants lead to the maturity . Depending on the canton, an entrance examination is sometimes required for admission to the canton school. The conditions may vary depending on the chosen focus.


The grammar school comprises the four or six years before the Matura. School leavers with a Matura are usually between 18 and 19 years old. The structure of the Swiss school system varies greatly between cantons.

Cantonal differences

Canton Zurich

In the canton of Zurich , the first two out of six years, unlike the last four, are not divided into directions:

  • one direction entitles a transition to the focus on design, music, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian or other languages;
  • another direction leads to the focus areas of physics and mathematics applications, biology and chemistry, economics, music or design;
  • another one focusing on design, music, Spanish, Italian or Russian .

Canton of St. Gallen

In the canton of St. Gallen , the desired focus subject must be ticked when registering for the entrance exam. This is taught for the entire four years. It can be changed at most once during the entire school period. Usually the classes are put together according to the main subjects, but mostly there are also mixed classes (e.g. if there are only ten Latin students and only ten business students).


The new MAR maturity regulations have existed since 2004 and the following main subjects are offered at the grammar school, but not every grammar school offers all the main subjects and there are cantonal differences. The main subjects are:

Depending on the canton, lessons are given in a supplementary subject in the last year or from the penultimate year before the Matura examination . This subject is, for example, psychology or philosophy , freely selectable and it counts for the Matura success as much as German, French, English, mathematics and the main subject.


In most cantons, in order to be admitted to the Matura examination , it is necessary to write a Matura thesis . As a rule, it is 20 pages long and, like the oral presentation of the “research results”, must be graded as at least sufficient .

The Matura examination usually includes the school material from the previous two years. Every focus is tested in German, English, French and mathematics, as well as the focus subject in written tests of varying duration. There are also short oral exams in German, English, French (literature in each case), mathematics and the main subject.

Both the mean of the grades of the last two semesters and the mean of the written and oral exams count for the success of the exam in each subject . The maturity grade is calculated from these two mean values ​​(so-called experience and examination grades). In other subjects such as history or geography , only the experience grades count. Each candidate receives thirteen Matura grades, of which a maximum of four may be unsatisfactory, which must be compensated twice (3.5 is balanced with 5 once or 4.5 twice).

Further courses

Some canton schools also offer courses that do not lead to the Matura, such as the Fachmittelschule (FMS), which was called Diplommittelschule until 2005 . In addition to the technical secondary school, there is also the business secondary school (WMS). Therefore, the canton schools can usually not be described as pure grammar schools.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c data IDES 2004/2005.