Children and adolescents in the Canton of Zug have access to quality public schools. Attendance at public schools for the years of compulsory education (up to lower secondary level) is free of charge. In terms of student numbers, private schools play only a minor role. However, such private schools represent a valuable alternative and supplement the range of schools on offer.
Compulsory schooling in the Canton of Zug begins with a mandatory pre-school (kindergarten) year before a child reaches primary school age and lasts for 10 years in all. Primary school comprises six grades (six school years). At the end of primary school, on the threshold to lower secondary level (Sekundarstufe I), the educational path splits into different directions. Progression from primary to secondary level is effected by means of performance-based grouping in a transition procedure called Übertritt I.
The lower secondary level is divided – with progressively higher intellectual demands on students – into Werkschule, Realschule and Sekundarschule, as well as Untergymnasium and Langzeitgymnasium, the latter two being geared to subsequent university studies. The end of the lower secondary years signifies the end of compulsory schooling. It is followed by upper secondary level (Sekundarstufe II).
At this stage, 60 % of the Canton of Zug’s youngsters opt for vocational education and training, which combines on-the-job training with school education (dual-track education system). Sekundarschule students have the possibility of continuing their education at an upper-secondary baccalaureate school (Kantonale Mittelschule). This progression is organised and executed in a further transition procedure (Übertritt II). In case the start or the decision on how to continue after compulsory schooling still needs some time, the bridge-year programmes step in.
At the end of the upper secondary period, students either take up a profession or continue their education at tertiary level. All educational paths at upper secondary level – including and in particular vocational education and training – leave students with the option of a baccalaureate (Matura), provided they have sufficient academic talent and willingness to work hard at school. Graduating with a baccalaureate opens the door to university level education.