How Covid-19 affected the Education System in Switzerland

The Impact on Universities

Covid has affected the lives of everyone around the world, however students had a drastic turn in their day-to-day lives. Switzerland and other countries had to go under lockdown, disrupting work and studies. According to swiss and foreign students located in Switzerland had a difficult time with their studies. About 57 per cent of the students are experiencing difficulties in their studies; 33 per cent of which reported issues with the content of the course, and 24 per cent listed lack of motivation as the main concern. Moreover, difficulties related to financial or personal aspects were also evident, with 17 percentage points for each issue. Since the study environment became fully virtual, the quality of the lectures, assignments and overall work decreased tremendously, while the costs of the studies remained the same. The Swiss government said that universities could introduce the certificate requirement for teaching at Bachelor and Masters level, furthermore the use of the certificate was extended to public spaces such as restaurants, culture events and leisure activities on September 13.

Due to this decision various universities and the most prestigious ones around Switzerland require students to be vaccinated in order to be in the campus, and provide such documents to prove:

  • Hotelier School of Lausanne
  • César Ritz Colleges Switzerland
  • University of Economics Fribourg
  • University of Applied Sciences Fribourg
  • Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and in Zurich (ETH Zurich)
  • The University of Geneva

These are some of the universities that have been requiring the covid certificate, however around Switzerland as day go by, others are also requiring it. This affects the students’ studies, because they cannot have their personal beliefs and due to the restrictions, that are being imposed. For students to attend the lectures and classes they need to have covid tests regularly in order to attend classes or turn into a fully virtual work environment.

Impact on Schools

During the height of the pandemic, schools shut down across the world with students turning to remote learning.“Switzerland had experienced depending on the canton up to 13 weeks of (effective) school closures in some form. In Switzerland schools closed nationwide on March 16, to maintain the covid cases low, and to lower the chances of spreading the virus. Furthermore, they began to reopen the school from May 11, having the younger students (Kindergarten, First and Second Years), returning first.

The average school hours last year in Switzerland were around 797 hours of classes per year at primary level (up to age 12) and 945 hours at lower secondary level (up to age 15/16) however during the pandemic and closure of schools around 21 hours of compulsory instruction time at primary level and 25 hours at lower secondary level for each week were lost.This drop in school hours had a clear effect on students, such as a drop in the development of subject knowledge as well as in the development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills.

Covid19 schools

International students majorly impacted

During the pandemic, majority of international students had to return to their respective countries, due to the safety of students and due to costs, of accommodation, basic necessities and many others. As campuses across Switzerland are having a limited capacity, the students who are internationally located have lesser chance of making it to campus. The OECD report concludes that this decreased “internationalisation” could be one of the main impacts of the pandemic on Swiss universities. “Switzerland, with a higher share of international students than in total across the OECD, may be more strongly affected than other countries,” it said. About 30% of students at Swiss universities come from abroad, according to the latest available statistics.  They made up 56% of those doing a PhD in 2019/2020 – compared to an OECD average of 25%.

What to expect next?

As Covid cases still begin to rise, there is no specific outcome or expectation into what will happen next. As the Swiss government still needs to make decisions, students need to be prepared to bad outcomes, such as all university campuses closing down and for the study environment to become fully online once again. Furthermore, some as students been exposed to this type of environment before, they can analyse the type of situation they are in and come out with efficient solutions.

Our Services

At Edelweiss Panorama International (EPI) we provide parents and students with the security and wellbeing, we make sure all our clients are being taken care of according to the governmental recommendations by providing the best support when finding accommodation, schools, universities and giving our overall support. All our partner schools and universities and considered the best, and their main focus is to maintain all students and staff safe during these hard times.