Country information for Switzerland - Teacher education for inclusive education

Basic teacher training

Access to basic teacher training programme for pre-primary and/or primary level requires a university entry exam (baccalaureate). The training ends with a bachelor’s degree. A full-time course of studies takes six semesters or three years (including teaching practice); at least 180 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System credits are necessary for graduation. Teacher training programmes for lower-secondary levels require a master’s degree.

Graduates of the teacher training programme for the pre-primary and/or primary level receive a ‘Teaching Certificate for the Pre-Primary and/or Primary Level’ and the academic title of Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Primary and/or Primary Education.

Specialist training

The special needs education (SNE) programme allows students to acquire the knowledge, abilities and competences to qualify in:

  1. the field of early childhood intervention for preventive and instructional support of children whose development is endangered, disrupted or hindered, as well as appropriate familial intervention;
  2. the field of special education teaching, for instruction and educational work with pupils who have special educational needs.

A full-time course of studies in SNE takes four semesters or two years (including teaching practice) and corresponds to a Master of Arts in Special Needs Education (in the field of either ‘Early Childhood Intervention’ or ‘Special Education Teaching’). Graduates of the teacher training programme for special education teaching receive a ‘Special Needs Teaching Certificate’ and a reference to their chosen area of specialisation.

Specialist training for speech therapy and psychomotor therapy are provided at bachelor’s degree level.

In order to be accepted into an SNE programme, in the field of special education teaching, the following minimum qualifications set by the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) must be met: a teacher’s certificate for mainstream classroom work or a bachelor’s degree in speech and language therapy or psychomotor therapy, or a bachelor’s degree in a related field of studies. Students who have received a bachelor’s degree through an integrated course of studies for a secondary I teacher’s certificate may also be accepted for this programme. The different teacher education universities can include inclusive education skills in their curricula.

There are a few institutions that offer study programmes in SNE. For more information, please refer to the website of the Swiss Union of the Institution for Special Needs Education (VHPA).

Continuing professional development (CPD)

The EDK’s recommendations on teacher CPD define CPD as a part of the teachers’ professional mission. The cantonal education acts and regulations provide an obligation for teachers to undertake CPD and often set out an entitlement to CPD; the content of CPD is often not laid down.


Last updated 12/03/2018

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