The general educational courses at upper secondary level include the courses leading to the Matura at the Gymnasium and the Liechtenstein Vocational Baccalaureate School. The Matura school leaving certificate allows students to follow a course of tertiary education in any subject without having to pass a separate entrance examination.
Types of institutions
In Liechtenstein there are currently two public institutions offering general education programms at upper secondary level. Due to limited options pupils from Liechtenstein attend respective education programms in Switzerland and Austria. The Governement garantuees access through bilateral agreements and gives financial support.
The Gymnasium is operated and financed by the state. The range of compulsory subjects offered there furnishes students with a broad general education. Education at the Gymnasium ends with the baccalaureate examinations (Matura). A baccalaureate certificate entitles to attend, without further examination, any higher education programm (school law).
Optional 10th School Year
The Optional 10th School Year continues from the last year of compulsory schooling in the Oberschule and Realschule. This bridging option serves to prepare pupils for a chosen educational career and can take a variety of forms, depending on demand. There are currently offered the for types Pro lingua, Cyberclass, Zukunftsbrücke, Werkklasse and Sprachbrückefür Jugendliche.
Artistic preliminary course
To prepare for a creative apprenticeship the preliminary artistic course at the Liechtenstein Art School can be attended.
Internships can be attended in preparation for work. These are compulsory for certain training courses.
To deepen the knowledge of a language or to study a new one language courses in and outside the country can serve as a bridging option.
Voluntary Social Year
Young people between the ages of 17 and 30 have the opportunity to apply for the Voluntary Social Year to gain insight into professional social work in a social institution.
Further information concerning bridging options can be checked out on the web platform "next step" dealing with education and profession in Liechtenstein.
Vocational baccalaureate school
The Liechtenstein Vocational Baccalaureate School (Berufsmaturitätsschule/Berufsmittelschule) is operated and financed by the state. The school has the task of providing an extended general education to those who have completed a basic vocational education and training (apprenticeship) and who wish to follow a higher education course (ISCED 5A). The Vocational Baccalaureate School can be attended by those who have successfully completed an apprenticeship lasting at least three years. The school offers either a two-year part-time course or a one-year full-time course, both leading to a vocational baccalaureate (Berufsmatura) (school law, Art. 57f). The members of the Vocational Baccalaureate Committee are appointed by the government for a period of four years and are responsible for organising the Vocational Baccalaureate examinations. The committee is made up of one representative from the Office of Education one from the Office of Vocational Education Training and Career Counselling Service, one from the University of Liechtenstein and two other members. The rector of the Vocational Baccalaureate School has a consultative function. The Liechtenstein vocational baccalaureate (Berufsmatura) entitles holders to study at any higher education institution in Liechtenstein and Austria and at universities of applied sciences in Switzerland.
There is one public Gymnasium and one public vocational baccalaureate school in Liechtenstein. There is one private school formatio offering general upper secondary education. In addition pupils from Liechtenstein attend schools in the neighbouring regions of Switzerland and Austria
Admission requirements and choice of school
The transition to the upper level of the Gymnasium follows on from the successful completion of the third grade of the lower level and promotion to the fourth grade (upper level). At the end of the third and fourth grades of the Realschule, pupils can make the transfer if they have an average score of at least 4.0 (A-level in mathematics and in the first foreign language) and a recommendation from the teacher’s conference, or after passing an entrance examination. Admission to the Vocational Bacccalaureate School is conditional on the successful completion of an apprenticeship lasting at least three years and successful pass of a entry exam in German, math and English.
Age levels and grouping of pupils
Teaching at the general educational secondary level II takes place in age grades and is given by specialist teaching staff. A class teacher accompanies the pupils during each school year - or even for several years. In relation to class size, the numbers for the Gymnasium are as follows: a minimum of 12, an average of 20, and a maximum of 24 pupils. At the Vocational Baccalaureate School teaching is given in class lessons. In the first semester, a class can be formed if there are at least 15 definite applications; for a class group focussing on a specific topic there must be at least 8 applications. Classes within the full-time courses have a maximum of 24 students; for the part-time courses it is 28 students.
Organisation of the school year
The school year is divided into two semesters and lasts between 38 and 40 weeks - around 200 school days between the middle of August and the beginning of July. School holidays are in summer, autumn, at Christmas, in February and in spring. The organisation of th schools year at the Vocational Baccalaureate School follows the directions in Art. 7a of the Ordinance on School Organisation. The part-time course at the Vocational Baccalaureate School lasts four semesters and the full-time course two semesters, assuming that all the modules required by the curriculum have been taken. The school year begins in August as per the Liechtenstein holiday calendar.
Organisation of the school day and week
At the upper level of the Gymnasium lessons take place from Monday to Friday. Wednesday afternoons are usually free. If necessary, for compelling organisational reasons - especially if there is a shortage of classrooms - the free afternoon can be moved to a different day. The number of weekly lesson hours per subject and class are set out in the Directive. The mandatory number of lessons per week is 34 and the maximum number of hours per week 38. All lessons last 45 minutes. Regulation for the organisation of the school day are the same as on lower secondary level. (There is a continuous break of 20 minutes in the morning and one of 15 minutes in the afternoon where there are more than two afternoon lessons. In addition, there are at least two breaks between lessons of 5 minutes each. Lessons begin no earlier than 7.30 a.m. and the lunch break lasts for 75 minutes. In campuses where lunch is provided the lunch break can be shortened to 40 minutes to make time for optional subjects. No compulsory or compulsory-optional lessons may take place during the lunch break - with the exception of home economics where lunch is taken within the lesson. Compulsory and compulsory-optional lessons must end by 17.00 at the latest. For the full-time courses at the Vocational Baccalauerate School, morning lessons begin at 8 a.m., end at 16.50 and take place from Monday to Friday in 40 lessons of 50 minutes each per week: 32 lessons in the basic subjects and 8 lessons in the subjects chosen for special emphasis.