With the articles on education in the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation (Articles 61a ff.) adopted by the Swiss people and cantons on 21 May 2006, the entire education sector is obliged to ensure federal cooperation between the cantons themselves and between the cantons and the Confederation. Within the scope of their powers the Confederation and the cantons are required to jointly ensure the high quality and accessibility of the Swiss education area.
In the compulsory education sector (primary level including pre-school or the first learning cycle, and lower secondary level) the cantons are required to harmonise their systems of school education. The harmonisation of school education (school entry age, compulsory school attendance, duration and objectives of the different levels of education, and transition from one level to another) is to be achieved by means of coordination. To implement this constitutional obligation (Article 62 of the Federal Constitution) the cantons have adopted the Interkantonale Vereinbarung über die Harmonisierung der obligatorischen Schule (HarmoS-Konkordat) [Intercantonal Agreement on Harmonisation of Compulsory Education (HarmoS Agreement)].
Under the Article on higher education institutions (Article 63a of the Federal Constitution), the Confederation and the cantons are jointly responsible for coordinating and guaranteeing quality in Swiss higher education. To implement this constitutional obligation the Confederation adopted the Federal Act on Funding and Coordination of the Higher Education Sector (HFKG) and the associate Ordinance, and the cantons adopted the Interkantonale Vereinbarung über den Hochschulbereich (Hochschulkonkordat) [Intercantonal Agreement on Higher Education (Higher Education Agreement)].
The Confederation and the cantons have also signed a cooperation agreement.
In the field of continuing education and training (CET), the Confederation was mandated to specify principles governing CET (Article 64a of the Federal Constitution). The Bundesgesetz über die Weiterbildung [Federal Act on Continuing Education and Training] strengthens personal responsibility for life-long learning, improves equal access to CET and ensures consistency in federal legislation.