Equity in Education

The new OECD Report “Breaking Down Barriers to Social Mobility” shows high educational inequality in Switzerland. The report recommends creating policies and programs that support disadvantaged students, such as greater access to early childhood education and care.

In Switzerland, social background is more closely linked to success at school than it is in many other countries, the new OECD Report “Breaking Down Barriers to Social Mobility” shows. About 16% of the variation in students’ science performance in PISA 2015 was accounted for by differences in students’ socio-economic status (OECD average:13%). But: “Poverty is not destiny. There are countries where the poorest children outperform their more affluent peers”, said Andreas Schleicher from OECD at the launch of the report on October 23rd 2018.

The performance gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children develops from as early as the age of 10 – and it only widens as they get older. Some 44% of disadvantaged students in Switzerland attend disadvantaged schools, however, if they attend advantaged schools, they score 88 points higher, or the equivalent of almost three years of school, than those attending disadvantaged schools (OECD average: 78 points).

These findings suggest that reducing the gaps related to socio-economic status in what students learn during compulsory schooling could boost upward educational and social mobility.

Read the full report

Country note Switzerland