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The Liechtenstein K-12 Education System

The education system of Liechtenstein is under the supervision of the state. The K-12 education system of Liechtenstein comprises of pre-primary, primary and secondary education. The School Office regulates the education system at pre-primary, primary and secondary educational levels. 

K-12 Education Historical Background

The school system in Liechtenstein was continually developed throughout the 20th century. In 1619, first school was introduced. From 1653 onwards, many school foundations were introduced. Till the 19th century, schooling was not mandatory. From 1805 children from the age of 7 to 13 years were legally required to go for schooling.  

The current school system, started in 1929, has undergone major transformation in the early 1970s. In the year 1971, the Liechtenstein was re-organised. The Office of Education was created by the government in 1972.  In 1974, the compulsory primary education duration was reduced from 8 years to 5 years, beginning at age of 7 years. 

At present, kindergarten in Liechtenstein is of 2 years duration, followed by 5 years of primary education. After completion of primary school, students get to attend one of different types of secondary schools- Oberschule, Realschule, for 4 years or gymnasium Unterstufen, for 3 years. 

K-12 Educational Levels

Pre-Primary Education

Pre-primary education is imparted by Kindergarten. It represents the first level of Liechtenstein K-12 education system. This level focuses on the development and personal growth of the child. The first Kindergarten in Liechtenstein was created in the municipality of Schaan in 1881. 
  • Age: 4-6
  • Duration: 2 years

Primary Education

Primary school in Liechtenstein provides basic knowledge and skills and helps students in their emotional, social and physical development. This level also prepares pupils for secondary education.
  •  Duration: 5 years
  • Ages: 7-11
At the end of the primary school, students can go for the secondary schooling- (Oberschule, Realschule, Gymnasium), based on their abilities and performance in the exam.

Secondary Education

Liechtenstein’s secondary education is split up into a lower and an upper cycle. This educational level includes youth aged 12 to 15 and 16 to 19 years respectively.

Lower Secondary Education (Sekundarstufe I)

Sekundarstufe I is split up into three levels (school types):
  • Oberschule- lower secondary
  • Realschule –intermediate secondary
  • Gymnasium Unterstufe- lower level of Gymnasium

All schools in Liechtenstein on the Sekundarstufe are general education institutions, except the "Sportschule" (Realschule) which provides customized, professional sports education. 

The lower secondary education is compulsory to attend. 
  • Ages: 12-15

Oberschule

Oberschule is a general education institution in Liechtenstein that prepares the pupils for the job market or to move into the Realschule. 
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Grade: 6-9

Realschule

The Realschule provides in-depth education and prepares pupils for apprenticeships or for further education levels, such as upper level Gymnasium or secondary vocational schools. It also consists of the “Sportschule” ( College of Physical Education; Realschule)  that offers professional training to the students and enable them to take up sports-oriented career. 
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Grades: 6-9

Gymansium Unterstufe

This level comprises of three grades and prepares students for higher education. 
  • Duration: 3 years
Curriculum: In grade 1, students study German, religious education, science, geography, art, physical education, music, history, mathematics, and informatics. In grade 2, English and French are introduced, while in grade 3, Latin is also added to the curriculum. 

Upper Secondary Education (Sekundarstufe II)

The Sekundarstufe II consists of :
  • Upper level- Gymnasium 
  • Voluntary tenth school year
  • Vocational secondary education

Upper Level II- Gymnasium

This level consists of 4 grades and studies at this level ends with the Matura. Students at this level are required to select one out of 5 education profiles:
  • Lingua
  • Modern languages
  • Arts, music and paedagogy
  • Economy and law
  • Mathematics and sciences
Basic subjects as well as optional subjects are taught. Basic subjects are: Mathematics, English, physical education, German, biology, physics, chemistry, arts and music, and French. 

Voluntary Tenth School

The voluntary 10th school year prepares pupils for vocational career. Students who have completed Sekundarstufe I are eligible for this level. This year provides specialised comprehensive knowledge and prepares students for further education or vocational education.

Vocational Secondary Education 

The vocational secondary education includes the following:
  • Vocational training: This covers the basic vocational training with apprenticeship: subject-specific and general education at vocational schools/Berufsmittelschule (Switzerland), experience-oriented education in the firm (Liechtenstein/CH).
  • Full-time vocational schools along with professional experience 
  • Berufsmittelschule Liechtenstein (vocational secondary school): To obtain Liechtenstein’s Berufsmatura

Vocational Training: Vocational training in the Liechtenstein is based on the dual and trial systems. Dual education includes practical training in an organisation or enterprise, and theoretical studies at the vocational school.  Trial education includes the dual education modes plus involves an in-depth and introductory courses provided by the professional associations where the required practical knowledge and skills are taught.

Apprenticeship: The apprenticeship is concluded with passing of a final exam and when the apprenticeship period ends. The final exam includes theoretical as well as practical sections.  After passing the final exam, graduates receive a certificate of competency as skilled professional. 

Apprentices may go for a Berufsmatura which is final examination taken at secondary vocational schools in Switzerland during the apprenticeship. In Liechtenstein, part-time programmes for the Berufsmatura are provided at the Berufsmittelschule.  

Berufsmittelschule

The Berufsmittelschule Liechtenstein helps students who have completed the vocational training, to obtain the Berufsmatura. The programme lasts 4 terms and students get to select the subject as per their interest and professional aims. 
Course choices consist of the 4 core subjects: information and communication technology, commerce, technology, and design. Liechtenstein’s Berufsmatura provides admittance to the higher education institutions in Liechtenstein, Austria and to vocational colleges in Switzerland.

Admission Requirements

Lower Secondary Education (Sekundarstufe I)

Students after the completion of grade 5 of the primary school are assigned to the secondary school level on the basis of their performance and capabilities.

Upper Secondary Education (Sekundarstufe II)

Students after completing lower secondary level are accepted into upper level of the Gymnasium.

  • Pupils can enter the upper secondary level after finishing Realschule levels 3 and 4 with a grade average of at least 5.0 or upon successful passing of an admission examination.
  • Students after completing the 9th school year either at Oberschule, Realschule or Gymnasium can go for the voluntary 10th school year.
  • Pupils who have successfully completed the 9th school year and possess the evidence of apprenticeship placement are accepted into the vocational school.

Grading System

A 6-point grading scale is used, whereby
  • 6 stand for excellent
  • 5 stand for good
  • 4 stand for sufficient
  • 3 stand for insufficient
  • 2 stand for weak
  • 1 stand for very weak

School Academic Year

According to the School Act, with effect from 1 August 2007, the school year in Liechtenstein shall be not less than 38 weeks and not more than 40 weeks.

The school year in Liechtenstein is split up into 2 semesters:
  • The first semester starts on August 17 or on the following Monday
  • The second semester starts on February 2
Each semester consists of about 20 school weeks.
 
School holidays: It consists of 6 weeks of summer vacations that start in July; 2 weeks of break in autumn that starts on the first Saturday in October, 2 weeks during Christmas; 1 week in  February/March,  and 2 weeks in spring- the Easter holidays. 
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