Various entities contribute to research and monitoring regarding the functioning of vocational education and training (VET) and professional education (PE) in Switzerland. These are the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET), the Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education (SCCRE), various Swiss Universities specialised as leading houses in particular research areas, the Swiss society for applied research in VPET as well as researchers on individual base.
Together they generate knowledge that can serve as the basis for the development and management of the VPET system in Switzerland. The Swiss confederation supports and funds the sustainable establishment of VET research in Leading Houses and individual research projects at Higher Education institutions.
Federal Research Institution
Financed by the Confederation, the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) is the Swiss governmental centre of competence for the provision of tertiary-level basic and continuing training to VET actors, for the development of occupations and for VET research. There are three regional campuses (Lausanne, Lugano, Zollikofen), one in each language region. SFIVET mainly provides basic and continuing training to VET and PET professionals and examiners. It is also involved in applied research, studies, pilot projects and the provision of services.
VET & PE research
In accordance with the Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA) the Swiss Confederation supports the sustainable establishment of VET research (Art. 4 VPETA). The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) funds and manages the respective programme. This aims at achieving the following three objectives: firmly establishing VET research in Switzerland, ensuring that policymaking for Switzerland’s VPET system is backed by solid research findings and developing the VPET system on a continuous basis. A scientific advisory committee provides SERI with recommendation on funding. Moreover, the committee plays a key role in scientific quality assurance regarding the VPET research program. There are two funding mechanisms: Leading houses (LHs) and individual research projects (IRPs).
Leading Houses LH
Leading Houses conduct academic research on specific topics relating to the VPET system. They foster the next generation of researchers, they serve as a competence network for vocational and professional education and training on national as well as on international level and they make use of the results through dissemination of their research findings in publications, conferences and workshops open to researchers as well as professionals. Coordinated by one or more Swiss university chairs, each Leading House serves as a competence network and conducts research under the terms of a service level agreement with SERI. Currently, the SERI programme provides funding to four Leading Houses:
- Leading House “Economics of Education: Firm Behaviour and Training Policies” (LH Econ), University of Zurich / Bern;
- Leading House “Technologies for Vocational Training” (LH Dual-T), Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL ;
- Leading House “Governance in Vocational and Professional Education and Training” (LH GOVPET), University of St. Gall
Individual research projects IRP
In addition, SERI sponsors individual research projects (IRP) devoted to a clearly delimited subject. IRPs examine questions and innovative features of the VPET system that are not addressed by Leading House research projects. All types of research institutions are eligible for IRP-funding (including universities, universities of applied sciences or the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET).
Swiss Education Report
Every four years the Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education (SCCRE) publishes the national educational report Switzerland. This is an important instrument for monitoring the Swiss education system including VET and PE education. In 2018, the third edition came out and provided a synthesis of knowledge from research, statistics and administration across the entire education system, from pre-school to continuing education. It provides information on the relevant contextual conditions and institutional features of each level of education and assesses the performance of education through the three criteria of effectiveness, efficiency and equity. The first two dimensions indicate to what extent the educational goals of a given level are achieved at all ("effectiveness") and whether the allocated funds are used meaningfully ("efficiency"). The third dimension ("equity") analyses whether all learners, regardless of their background, have the same chances of success in education. In addition, the report provides an update on the achievement of the agreed long-term education policy goals of the Confederation and the cantons. They were set for the first time in 2010, confirmed in 2015 and partly revised in the light of the education report of 2014.
Since 1997, the SERI has monitored individual decisions during the transition between compulsory education and upper secondary education. Initially it was focussed on the matching between supply and demand regarding apprenticeship-positions. This concept was adapted in 2018. It aims at recording the current situation of young people in the transition from compulsory education to upper secondary education, both in terms of follow-up solutions in vocational and general education. An online tool is used to interview 14- to 16-year-olds who have completed their compulsory schooling in the summer of each year. In addition, a written survey is conducted at a representative number of companies. The results are published twice a year in April and August.
- SERI-funded VET/PE Research
- Leading Houses VET/PE Research
- Economics of Education: Firm Behaviour and Training Policies (LH Econ)
- Strupler, M. & Wolter, S., C. (2012): Dual-track VET: a success story – also for host companies. Results of the third cost-benefit analysis of apprenticeship training from the firm's perspective. Rüegger Verlag (Zürich und Chur).
- Technologies for Vocational Training (LH Dual-T)
- Governance in Vocational and Professional Education and Training (LH GOVPET)
- Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education (SCCRE)
- Monitoring of the Swiss Education System (in German, French and Italian)
- Monitoring of the transition from compulsory to upper secondary education (in German, French and Italian)
- Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET)
- Federal Statistical Office (FSO): Education and Science
- Swiss society for applied research in VPET (in German and French)