Education System in Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is centrally located in Europe, surrounded by Austria and Switzerland.  The Principality of Liechtenstein, a constitutional monarchy established on democratic parliamentary system. It is also an attractive tourist destination particularly for winter sports.

The education system of Liechtenstein is under the supervision of the state. The government is the responsible for the education system. It supervises the application of laws through its subordinate bodies and monitors the management of the Office of Education (Schulamt), the Office of vocational training and career guidance (Amt fur Berufsbildung und Berufsberatung), the Schools’ Council (Schulrat), the Vocational Training Council ("Berufsbildungsbeirat") as well as the foundation board for Adult education foundation ("Stiftungsrat der Stiftung fur Erwachsenenbildung"), the higher education council ("Hochschulrat") and the School-Leaving Certificate and Vocational School-Leaving Certificate Committee ("Matura- und die Berufsmaturakommission"). The Schools Office (Schulamt) administers and manages the education system at preprimary, primary, and secondary educational levels.

The present education system of Liechtenstein is based on a sequence of reforms that were initiated in the middle of the 1980s and executed in the 1990s, and is under regular analysis.  National education in Liechtenstein provides a general and vocational education that is open for all students, apprentices and trainees, and is free of charge. Foreign language studies are promoted to prepare pupils for the industry, keeping in mind the requirements of the professional career of international connections.

Educational Background

 The first law to regulate the Liechtenstein education system was laid down in the beginning of the 19th century. In 1806, a set of school regulations were introduced, which were then replaced in 1822. The first actual school law came into effect in the year 1827. This law had undergone several changes, including the scrapping of school fees and introduction of rules on the qualifications, etc. In 1859 was introduced a new law that was the most effective school law. This law strengthened the school administration at the national and municipal level. In 1929 came another school law that was amended several times. Then in the year 1971 was introduced an education law that is still in effect. This law reduced the primary education duration to 5 years and extended the secondary education duration to 4 years. It also re-structured the secondary education into three types. The education system of Liechtenstein has progressed dynamically. 

Education Profile of Liechtenstein

The Liechtenstein education system is based on the model followed in the German-speaking countries, with neighbouring Switzerland and Austria having a strong impact on framework, structure and curriculum.  

Liechtenstein comprises its primary and secondary schools, along with several further education colleges and a vocational high school.  The educational system of Liechtenstein is split up into the kindergarten, primary, secondary and higher education.

Pre-Primary Education-Kindergarten

This level of education is optional and is of 2 years duration. Children aged 4-6 years may attend kindergarten.

Compulsory Education

General compulsory education in Liechtenstein lasts for 9 years, from the ages 6/7 to 15/16.  The compulsory phase of education in Liechtenstein covers primary education and the types of secondary education- Oberschule, Realschule or Gymnasium. General compulsory education is regulated by the School Act, 1971.

Primary Education

Primary education lasts for 5 years. This level of education marks the beginning of compulsory education.  This level of education offer following subjects: mathematics, English, German, art, religion, social studies, textile and technical design, music, and sports. 

Secondary Education (Level I)

Secondary education lasts for 4 years. There are three different types of secondary schools in Liechtenstein: “Oberschule”, “Realschule” and “Gymnasium”. 

Oberschule: This includes Grade 6 and prepares pupils for their chosen career/profession

Realschule: At this school, pupils are trained for professional career or for continuing education

Gymnasium: This secondary school prepares pupils for university education. This level given students a choice to focus on the humanities, mathematics or economics

Upper Secondary Education (Level II)

Secondary education level II comprises of upper level of Gymnasium and voluntary tenth school year.

Gymnasium (upper cycle): The upper level of Gymnasium provides several subjects and prepares students for higher education. This level lasts for 4 years. 

Voluntary tenth school year: The voluntary tenth school year in Liechtenstein offers in-depth general education and prepares students for the transition to the next schooling level or to vocational schools. It forms the basis of adult education. 
Upon successful completion of the voluntary tenth school year in Liechtenstein, students can enter vocational schools or other continuing education.

Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Secondary vocational education is provided at the Berufsmittelschule Liechtenstein (BMS). Students who have completed vocational training are provided intensive general education at this level so that they can go for higher education.
The Berufsmittelschule Liechtenstein provides individuals who have completed vocational training an opportunity to obtain the Berufsmatura certificate(the upper secondary school leaving certificate), while pursuing job. 

Higher Education 

Higher education opportunities in Liechtenstein are limited. Students can go for university education in the neighbouring country institutions, i.e. in Switzerland, Austria and Tubingen in Germany that have contractual arrangements with Liechtenstein for free entry to their institutions, and where the languages of instruction are English and German. 

Higher Education Institutions

In Liechtenstein, there is one public higher education institution and three private higher education institutions. 

Public Higher Education Institution

University of Liechtenstein: The University of Liechtenstein provides study programmes in architecture and business. This is the biggest higher education institution in Liechtenstein.

Private Higher Education Institutions

The International Academy of Philosophy (Internationale Akademie fur Philosophie,or IAP) offers doctoral programmes in Philosophy.

The Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein (Private Universitat im Furstentum Liechtenstein, or UFL) offers doctorate degrees in two areas- law and medicine. 

The Liechtenstein Institute (Liechtenstein-Institut, or LI) play emphasis on scientific research. 

Higher Education Qualification

The university studies in Liechtenstein offers:
  • Bachelor’s degree: The duration of the bachelor degree programme is at least 6 semesters and at most 12 semesters.
  • Master’s degree: The duration is at least 4 semesters and at most 6 semesters.
  • Doctoral degree: The duration of doctoral studies in Liechtenstein is 3-5 years

Vocational Training

The basic vocational training in Liechtenstein is based on a two-track or three-track system.  The two-track approach, referred to as the dual system, combines on-the-job training within a company with teaching in a special vocational school, and the three-track system consists of two-track approach and several training courses structured to develop and enhance practical skills.  About 60-70 per cent students enter a vocational training course of 2, 3 or 4 years duration. The Office for Vocational Training and Career Counselling is in charge for vocational training in the fields of industry, healthcare, handicrafts, forestry, services, nursing, agriculture, and housekeeping.

Adult Education

The largest and well-recognised provider of adult education in Liechtenstein is the "Bildungshaus Stein-Egerta" in Schaan. The Adult Education Foundation Liechtenstein manages adult education. The Liechtenstein Adult Education Foundation manages and promotes the adult education in Liechtenstein. It is a public foundation that started in 1999.
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