Policy Document

Intercantonal Agreement on Harmonisation of Compulsory Education (HarmoS Agreement) of 14 June 2007








Compulsory Schooling

Main implications

The cantons who sign the agreement harmonise compulsory education by harmonising educational objectives and the structure of the education system, and ensuring and developing quality and flexible transfer opportunities between different sectors and school types of the education system through development of harmonised educational governance tools. The major Implications include: the extension of the duration of compulsory education to 11 years: two years of preschool, six years of primary school, and three years of upper secondary school; the determination of national educational objectives and standards; a first foreign language is to be taught after five years of compulsory education, a second foreign language after seven years, and one of these must be a national language (French, Italian, German); the development of linguistic regions’ (French, Italian, German) curricula; implementation of educational monitoring and evaluation tools; time tables are to be organised in teaching blocks, and adequate day care facilities have to be provided (use is optional and not free of charge).

Benefits & Requirements

Coverage: Eligible groups or beneficiaries

All children

Age range

4 - 15

Duration (numbers of years of compulsory education stipulated by this document)


ISCED levels included in compulsory education


Dedication (number of hours per week stipulated by this document)

Not specified by this reform

Is educational tracking implemented or modified by this document?


If yes, age when students are tracked for the first time


Education and training required for a compulsory school teacher stipulated by this document

Not specified by this reform. General information: The training of teaching staff for compulsory education is provided by tertiary level A institutions – mostly universities of teacher education. Due to their practice-oriented degree programmes and their research which is oriented towards occupational fields, the universities of teacher education are typologically classed as universities of applied sciences. The degree programmes in teacher education and training provide professional qualifications and include scientific components, teaching-specific components, educational science components and practical training components. The goal is to impart adequate knowledge and competence for educating and teaching pupils and students at the various educational levels, as well as children and adolescents with special needs. Teacher education and training is realised within a two-tier model with Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes in accordance with the Bologna Declaration. The duration of studies depends on the selected degree programme. Graduates receive a teaching qualification for the specific educational level, or a professional qualification in the field of special needs education, as well as a Bachelor's or Master's degree. The teaching qualifications and professional qualifications are recognised throughout Switzerland. Teaching certificates for compulsory education are: teacher for the pre-school level and/or primary school level; teacher for lower-secondary education; education and training in the field of special needs education: specialisation in the fields of early remedial education and remedial education at school; education and training in speech and language therapy and psychomotor therapy

Is the compulsory education of children of undocumented migrants granted by this document?

Yes, but not specified by this reform

Read the Law

Original full text source in native language


Full text web source in English


Original full text web source in native language


Comments & Clarifications

Intercantonal Agreements, also called 'concordats' (German: Konkordat), are worked out by the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK), are legally binding only for those cantons that decide to sign them (decision of the parliament or cantonal popular vote), and come into force as soon as a certain number of cantons (defined by the concordat) agree on it. To date (November 2014), 15 of 26 cantons signed the Intercantonal Agreement on Harmonisation of Compulsory Education (HarmoS Agreement) of 14 June 2007.


Regula Julia Leemann & Sandra Hafner
University of Teacher Education, Basel

Data collected in the framework of the Population Europe Research Finder and Archive (PERFAR)

Cite as

SPLASH-db.eu (2014): Policy: "Intercantonal Agreement on Harmonisation of Compulsory Education (HarmoS Agreement) of 14 June 2007" (Information provided by Regula Julia Leemann & Sandra Hafner). Available at: https://splash-db.eu [Date of access].