This chapter provides a chronological overview of ongoing national reforms and policy developments since 2020. The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who the main actors in the decision-making process are.
The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels:
- Early childhood education and care
- School education
- VET and Adult learning
- Higher education
- Transversal skills and Employability
Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.
National Education Strategy and Key Objectives
The Education Strategy 2025plus came into force in March 2021. It was developed in 2019 under the leadership of the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the School Office, the Office for Vocational Education and Training and various education-related institutions. The strategy serves as an orientation framework for the further development of the education system in Liechtenstein. It defines the vision, the mission and the understanding of education of the Liechtenstein education system and shows the key objectives for their realisation. The eight key objectives are the following:
1. High-quality education (The quality of the education system is continuously developed. Suitable methods and instruments are used for the overall control of the development process).
2. More autonomy (The educational institutions have sufficient autonomy (scope) to optimally mobilise local knowledge and to ideally meet the needs of their stakeholders as well as to set their own priorities, whereby an optimal balance between autonomy and central control is strived for).
3. Diverse educational pathways (The individualisation of educational pathways is promoted throughout the education system through diverse entry, transfer and re-entry options and supported through information and guidance. Vocational and academic pathways are equally recognised in society and the economy).
4. Education for All (The focus of the education system is increasingly on ensuring educational success for all and promoting lifelong learning. Learning-friendly educational institutions adopt an inclusive attitude and are based on the realisation of the rights of all learners).
5. Future empowerment (research and innovation are increasingly promoted and 21st century competences are strengthened in all educational sectors to cope with and shape future demands in private life, work, economy and society. The culture for shaping a sustainable, responsible and forward-looking approach to oneself, fellow human beings and the environment will be expanded).
6. Networking and mobility (The development and promotion of personal, inter- and transcultural and linguistic competences for mobility in a networked world are components of all educational areas. The educational institutions use the opportunities that arise from regional and international projects as well as exchange and mobility with other countries).
7. Early Childhood Education (Early Childhood Education is regarded in the Liechtenstein education system as the basis for successful lifelong learning and opens up the best possible individual opportunities for all children).
8. Education Staff (Education staff are strengthened and optimally supported as a significant key factor for the educational success of all.)
Overview of the Education Reform Process and Drivers
It is of foremost importance to the state of Liechtenstein to organise its education system. Compulsory education and free attendance of state schools are basically regulated by the constitution. Overall, the state is responsible for adequate education services as well as for their quality (supervision), including the private sector. Private education is available within the boundaries of the current law. Private institutions must be authorised by the government and are obliged to regular reporting. The application of the laws is supervised by the government who also carries out particular legal actions through subordinate instances (governmental offices and committees). They then prepare issues for the attention of the government or other instances in accordance with the relevant regulations and jurisdiction, or they carry them out independently. The communal authorities as the responsible bodies of the municipal schools also make a considerable contribution.
Childcare services for children below the age of 4 are not part of the education system, but are part of family and social politics. They are supervised by the Office of Social Services. The Office of Social Services is also responsible for private kindergarten. The decision to make use of public or private services for childcare (child day-care facilities, day-care parents, playgroups) is at the parents' discretion. As the importance of early education continually increases (especially in the field of language education) this sector also holds an educational mandate.
The umbrella organisation Adult Education Foundation is under public law and coordinates the state support for adult education. Institutions for adult education are independent organisations.
The structure of Liechtenstein's education system is characterised by the small size of the country and its necessary close links to the neighbouring education systems. The size makes it impossible to offer a complete school and education system on all levels. Especially in the fields of schooling within vocational education, in advanced vocational education as well as in higher education programmes cooperation networks have been established with the neighbouring countries, especially with Switzerland. Liechtenstein makes financial contributions in these sectors. Places to study at schools and universities are obtained with the help of a range of agreements with foreign ministries and departments.
The Liechtenstein curriculum (LiLe), which was introduced in August 2019 with some Liechtenstein-specific adaptations and additions, is based on the content of Switzerland's Curriculum 21.
Liechtenstein's education statistics provide the essential data basis for all areas of education.