Education System in Liechtenstein
Education in the enclave of Lichtenstein east of Switzerland follows a traditional model based on Catholic pedagogic principles, and is compulsory from age 6 to age 15. Following optional kindergarten, children enter primary school at age 6 where they remain for 5 years. There they receive a basic grounding in academic subjects before topping out with a grade 5 certificate.
There are 3 kinds of middle schools orientated to meet individual needs. These are realschule (four-year programs with practical applications), oberschule (four-years and equivalent to grammar schools) and gymnasiums which follow 3 year academic curricula. In the latter case a fourth year follows that may be completed in any one of these institutions. All 3 programs complete with a lower secondary school certificate.
The path to university lies through gymnasiums where students aged between 15 and 18 attend for 4 more years. Here they may choose between 5 different programs according to their preferred specialization before sitting for their matura certificate. This entitles them to enroll at universities in Switzerland, Austria, and the University of Tubingen in Germany. Berufsmittelschule allow other, more practically-minded students to advance their career prospects in areas of business, design, engineering or information technologies. The berufsmaturiätsprüfung certificate awarded allows them to likewise study further in neighboring countries.
After completing middle school, students not proceeding on to the upper level may embark on an optional 10th grade that prepares them for their personal and vocational future. Within a core program they may add courses in traditional and modern languages, arts music & pedagogy, business & law, or maths & natural sciences. Their reward for success is a senior secondary leaving certificate.
There are no universities in Lichtenstein itself. It does however have an evening technical school, a music school and a children’s pedagogic-welfare day school. A set of contractual obligations and a state subsidy scheme actively encourage promising students to study for bachelor, master and doctorate degrees at Swiss and Austrian Universities, and at the University of Tubingen in Germany which is illustrated here.
In this way, the small, fiercely independent society ensures that academic opportunities remain available for all its young people.