School Education at state schools in Switzerland is free of charge. Compulsory schooling lasts for nine years (primary school and secondary level I). A child’s schooling begins with preschool (kindergarten) at the age of four. Elementary school education at Primarschulen, beginning at the age of six, lasts for six years. It then moves on to the first stage of their secondary education, known as Sekundarstufe I. In secondary education, students attend a school matching their own level, either a Realschule or Sekundarschule. Once they have graduated from Sekundarstufe I, the students will have completed their nine years of compulsory education. Usually, they will then begin a course of vocational training or attend a Maturitätsschule to study for their Matura, the Swiss pre-university leaving exam. In addition to vocational training and studying for the Matura, there are also opportunities to continue learning beyond the mandatory schooling period by attending a Diplommittelschule. Public schools not only impart knowledge, but also play an important role in integration as children from different social, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds all attend the same schools. Multilingualism is of great importance to Switzerland with its four national languages. Children learn a second national language together with English during their mandatory schooling. Good public schoolsMost students in Switzerland (95%) attend preschool and compulsory education in the public schools of their local community. Only 5% attend a private school. Tertiary level Switzerland is home to 10 cantonal universities, where courses are taught either in German (Basel, Bern, Zurich, Lucerne, St.Gallen), French (Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel), Italian (Lugano) or bilingual German and French (Freiburg). Federal Institutes of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschulen or ETH) are located in Lausanne (French) and Zurich (German). The Universities of Applied Sciences are practice-oriented education institutions at the university level that offer attractive qualification opportunities for professionals. The courses are closely linked to specific fields of work. The 14 teacher training colleges also belong to this category. Switzerland has more than 100 state-recognized higher vocational colleges, the majority of which are technical colleges. The qualifications awarded by Swiss higher vocational colleges are often equivalent to the degrees awarded by universities in other countries. Professional examinations and higher vocational examinations are the responsibility of and are ad-ministered by professional associations, under federal supervision. More than 150 professional exami-nations and 150 higher vocational examinations are now recognized. Integration or reception classes Children and young people under 16 years old who come to Switzerland from abroad and have prob-lems keeping up with the pace of teaching because of language difficulties have the opportunity to attend an integration class for up to a year before transferring to a normal class.