The Swiss School system : I must say I took a while before I could understand this system. To be very honest I found it a bit too complicated but after seeing the girls go through it, I started understanding it and appreciating it slowly. Here is my understanding of the system and every Kanton has a little bit different system but I am talking about the Kanton of Zürich:
1. Start Kindergarten at the age of 5
2. Primary school starts at the age of 7 and lasts for two years
3. Secondary school lasts for 7 years and there are different levels in secondary school according to the level of the students:
The Swiss education system in a diagram
The above image has been taken from here Swiss School system and it has been allowed to use it so to say has no copyright on it. I hope with the above image the system will be better to understand.
The children attend school according to their grades and interests. Gymnasium is the highest intellectual level of the education and to get in here a child has to go through a special test, either after the 6th Grade or even after the 8th or the 9th Grade.
The Secondary school kids start learning about how to approach for jobs, make their CV`s (that was so impressive) learn to take a phone call and ask for an apprenticeship. Then according to the kind of Job they choose to do (from working in a bank, or a hair salon, a bakery, or a shopkeeper etc. etc.) they go to school 1-2 days and the rest of the days they work.
I found the system of apprenticeship so great, because a mediocre child is not wasting time just to get a graduate degree and end up without a job. But on the other hand these kids can also attend the Fachhochshule after the school and apprenticeship and move on to higher levels in their lives and having a practical knowledge and having worked in proper firms, these kids are sometimes more favoured then the Gymnasium kids who have a higher level of education but not practical experience.
The Gymnasium kids do their mature and go for further studies to the University. I have seen with my both girls, how different it was. T got in the Gymnasium after the 8th grade and from the grade 7th to 8th she has learnt a lot about how to approach people for an Apprentice, how to make your CV, how to write a letter, and another thing which blew me away was the experience at the BIZ (Berufsinformationszentrum). At this place the kids could go and do an exercise where in they will be clear in which direction of jobs they should go. This service is provided by the schools free of cost and the people from here also come to the school to talk to the kids.
Now if I remember correctly while I was growing up and was in grade 9 and had to choose the profile where to go, I was so confused and I so much would have appreciated this kind of assistance.
Anyways, I read a great article on apprenticeship in Switzerland and how the country is benefiting from it. I hope many more cultures and countries adopt this kind of system and get benefited and benefit the students as well. Here you can read more here.