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Education & Schools

Geneva - Education & Schools


The most important consideration to take into account when deciding which school to enroll your children in is the type of education you wish for your children. The second most important consideration is the language abilities of your children. With younger children, many expatriates are keen to send them to a local public school within their neighborhood where they live, so as to be exposed to a tri-lingual education environment, as well as to make new friends. With older children (mid to high school-going age), however, the situation changes. As the language of instruction in Geneva is predominantly French – this is often the greatest consideration for entry into the local public schools for expatriate children whose first (or second) language is not French.

For an overview of the Swiss education system, your first website stop must be the The Swiss Education Server that is developed by the Swiss government. This website provides a lot of useful information for parents and adults wishing to learn more about education in Switzerland. The website is available in English.

In Geneva, the compulsory age for education for children is at the age of 7. For more information about education in Geneva, you may wish to contact the Department de I'instruction publique at Tel: 022 327 24 00. You will need to have relevant documents, such as health insurance, vaccination certificates and birth registration certificates to register your children. If your child is older but you would still like to enroll them in the public schools, ask about welcome classes - "classe d'accueil", which are special language classes to help children cope with language learning. Contact the Service de la scolarite at Tel: 022 388 53 00. German is taught in the state schools, in addition to English.

Public schools in Geneva are small, compared to schools elsewhere. It is common to see young school children out and about in the town on school excursions. Schools in Geneva have a two-hour lunch break, and parents can arrange for the children to walk home for lunch, or have a meal at school at reasonable rates. Public schools in Geneva are free, and most children will attend the school within the residence which they live in.

If parents prefer to send their children to a private schools, there are a number of good private schools in and around Geneva. For a listing of private schools, try the Swiss Federation of Private Schools that provides a good listing of private schools in Switzerland (including Geneva). The website is available in English. International schools in Switzerland are privately-run and the course fees can get expensive.

Some of the international schools in Geneva that is based on the American education system (IB) are the College du Leman (CDL) in Versoix, Geneva (from pre-school to high school; boarding available) and the International School of Geneva. This school has three campuses, and accepts children from age 3 to 17 years. Lessons are taught in English or French, and there are bilingual opportunities for children. The University of Geneva is located where? This university is the second largest university in Switzerland, and one third of students in this university are from other countries. There are seven faculties that offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The university also has a strong research arm in life sciences and astrophysics.

The public schools in Geneva operate on 4 school terms, each marked with a short break or holiday period. The Christmas / New Year Holiday in December usually last for 10 days, while the longest holiday is the Summer Holidays (vacances d'ete) that usually last for 2 months (June – August). The current school term in Geneva began in August 2008 and will end in August 2009. For the exact dates, click here. Some private schools may have their own specific dates.


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