Switzerland's government aims to make the country among the international leaders in research and education. Source: Shutterstock

Switzerland’s reputation for its education precedes it, making it unsurprising that some 20 percent of its student population are from abroad.

The country’s universities have consistently ranked well in world university rankings.

For instance, Switzerland has seven universities featured in both the top 200 of the QS World University Rankings 2020 and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, further testament of its education prowess. 

But in ensuring that it continues to raise the bar and maintain its standard of excellence, the Swiss government recently announced that it is designating up to CHF28 billion (almost US$29 billion) for the promotion of education and research over the next four years.

This makes it an increase of just over two percent compared with the previous period, reported swissinfo.ch

“The aim is to ensure that Switzerland remains an international leader in the field of education, research and innovation,” Education Minister Guy Parmelin was quoted saying in a news conference last Wednesday. 

He added that digital transformation is among the chief challenges for the government.

Strengthening its education

The report notes that the government set priorities for vocational and professional training, for continuing education and higher education both at the Federal Institutes of Technology and the cantonal universities and colleges, as well as for the promotion of research and innovation, notably with the National Science Foundation and the innovation agency, Innosuisse.

The funds still need to be approved by parliament, but do not include Switzerland’s financial contribution for participation in EU programmes in research and innovation, including Horizon Europe and Erasmus, said the report.

There are twelve state-run universities in Switzerland – 10 are cantonal, and two are federal institutes of technology. The former is operated and managed by individual cantons, the Swiss form of an administrative area. Whereas federal institutes of technology are run by the government of Switzerland.

Parmelin said the key to Switzerland’s successful promotion of training, research and innovation is continuity, a long-term perspective and close cooperation between the 26 cantons and the federal authorities. 

He was also optimistic about planned talks with Brussels on associating Switzerland with EU research and education programmes. 

All grounds covered 

According to EN24, the Federal Council is setting aside CHF4.276 billion for vocational training over the next four years, with a focus on promoting basic skills, especially among the low-skilled, or the most vulnerable group in the job market.

Meanwhile, universities stand to gain the most endowment.

The federal government will support universities with CHF16.627 billion, while research and innovation will receive CHF7.032 billion.

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