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Education in Basel

Expats living in Basel enjoy numerous amenities and an above-average quality of life. They profit from cultural and outdoor activities, as well as a great infrastructure for all areas of daily life. The InterNations guide to Basel introduces leisure, healthcare, schools, and local transportation in the region.

The Education System

Education in Switzerland has a (well-deserved) and good reputation of long standing. However, it's important to know that there is no nationwide school system. Instead, the various cantons are in charge of local education.

In Basel, children start their mandatory education around the age of four, when they have to attend kindergarten. Working parents often send their younger kids to daycare centers (Tagesbetreuung or Tagesheim), but this decision is up to each family. Two years of kindergarten are, however, legally required. They serve as a preparation for primary school. Both primary and secondary schools in Basel have undergone reforms in the past few years.

Following changes to the school system in Basel, children born after 31 April, 2002, will be following a slightly different academic path to those who came before them. Instead of just four years of primary education, children now attend primary school for six years, from the ages of six to twelve.

Afterwards, all students attend the same kind of comprehensive secondary school for three years. However, pupils are streamed into different levels of schooling according to their academic track record. There remains the possibility of moving between these different levels. After attending compulsory secondary school until the age of 15, pupils are separated into three different schools. The best students will attend a Gymnasium for three years afterwards, providing the opportunity to go on to study at university, while other students can choose between applying for vocational training and going to the Fachmaturitätsschule.

You can find even more information in our articles on education and higher education in Switzerland.

Sending Your Kids to a Local School

The language in the classroom is usually German, but students in Basel are taught French, followed by English, from primary school onwards. If you plan on settling in Switzerland or want to stay for a long while, a public school in Basel may not be a bad choice. Younger children in particular often pick up foreign languages fairly quickly, so your kid could soon be fluent in German. The public education system also has the definite advantage of being entirely free of charge.

If you have any questions concerning public education in the city of Basel, please contact:

Erziehungsdepartement des Kantons Basel

Leimenstrasse 1

4001 Basel

061 267 84 00


For advice on registering your child for a place in kindergarten or with the nearest primary school, please call 061 267 54 60 or write to

If you are searching for a public daycare center to look after your kid, please get in touch with:

Vermittlungsstelle Tagesheime

Freie Strasse 35

4001 Basel

061 267 46 14


In the canton of Basel-Landschaft, the following office is in charge of public education:

Bildungs-, Kultur-, Sportdirektion

Rheinstrasse 31

4410 Liestal

061 552 5111

International Schools in Basel

Unfortunately, the language barrier and the culture shock can have a negative impact on many expat children. If your family intends to stay in Basel for a short while only, an international school may be just what your kid needs. Luckily, there are several in the Basel area.

Moreover, the Early Learning Association runs an English-language nursery, daycare center, and primary school in Basel City, while both the Freies Gymnasium Basel and the Gymnasium am Münsterplatz offer English immersion classes. Although the Gymnasium am Münsterplatz is primarily a German-language school, students do have the possibility of acquiring an IB diploma.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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