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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teaching and learning in general lower secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.2Teaching and learning in general lower secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Curriculum, subjects, number of hours

The cantons are responsible for drawing up the curricula and the allocation of teaching hours (Stundendotationen). The Intercantonal Agreement on Harmonisation of Compulsory Education (HarmoS-Konkordat) has harmonised education objectives in compulsory education. Information on this and on the language-region curricula may be found in the comments on the primary level.

The following subjects and subject areas are normally taught at lower secondary level:

  • languages (information on language teaching): language of instruction, foreign languages (a second national language and English, and an optional third national language),
  • mathematics,
  • natural sciences: biology, chemistry, physics,
  • social sciences and humanities: e.g. geography, history, civic education,
  • music, art and design: artistic design, textile and craft design, music,
  • exercise, body and health: exercise and sport,
  • economics, work, housekeeping: inter alia home economics,
  • career guidance and vocational preparation.

Various topics such as health promotion, education for sustainable development, political education, sex education, and ethics and religions may be taught as a separate subject or integrated in other subjects. Media and information technology are part of the language-region curricula. The teaching of media and information technology is usually interdisciplinary, but sometimes also takes place in a separate module.

Lower secondary level pupils can usually choose certain subjects from subject groups as compulsory electives. In addition to compulsory lessons and compulsory electives, optional electives may be attended. The cantons specify the conditions governing compulsory electives and elective courses.


Teaching methods and materials

Information on teaching methods and materials and on the integration of information and communications technologies (ICT) in teaching may be found in the comments on the primary level. Foreign-language pupils, particularly talented pupils and pupils with special educational needs are helped by corresponding support programmes.