It is my understanding that children at 15 are offered access to Gymnasium/Liceo based on their performance of the previous two years. So anyone who fails that will be barred from uni, or at least have a far more difficult path ahead of them.

For an expat child who is doing extremely well in his country of origin, coming into the country one or two years before that date it might be that they are excluded from higher education just because they didn't have enough time to settle in their new country.

Would children in that situation be allowed to study in a private school and do their four years of Gymnasium there? Would the schools generaly have free spots for those kids?

We might be transfering to canton Ticino (Lugano specifically) if that makes any difference.

  • Unfortunately, each canton has it's specific rules regarding access to Gymnasium/Liceo. You should probably write an email directly to the canton's education/school department to ask about the situation.
    – ChrisR
    Aug 7, 2018 at 9:36
  • @ChrisR , Thanks. I guess I'll end up doing that for the rules aspect of the question, but it still remain the question of finding available spaces at private schools. Aug 8, 2018 at 10:29
  • There are private schools in Ticino. You will have to ask each one whether they have spaces. Some of them are English speaking (look for "International") which might be helpful if you are from America. If you are Spanish speaking (guessed from your name), then it shouldn't take too lake for your child to transition to Italian (but you might still need a private school). Aug 8, 2018 at 10:36
  • Also, if you're spanish, you might be able to find help and guiding at the local spanish community center. Relevant site which might help you: Espanoles.ch
    – ChrisR
    Aug 8, 2018 at 12:14
  • It is worth noting that there are other ways via public schools to go to universities. In Switzerland, only about 20% of students go to the Gymnasium, whereas most of the others either go to a Fachmittelschule/scuola specializzata or to vocational training. It's not always straightforward, but each of these offer paths to go to university. You can use this diagram as a start if you want to look into this.
    – drat
    Sep 11, 2018 at 3:31


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