National inventory of bilingual education: the current situation in Switzerland

07.2021 - 02.2023
Learning, Acquisition, Teaching

The Inventar des zweisprachigen Unterrichts (inventory of bilingual education) provides an overview of bilingual education in Switzerland, specifically of all bilingual education programmes currently in progress (2021/2022 school year) at compulsory schools and upper secondary schools. The first since the turn of the century, the new inventory was compiled by the Institut universitaire de formation des enseignant-e-s at the University of Geneva and financed by the Research Centre on Multilingualism in Fribourg and the Forum für die Zweisprachigkeit (forum for bilingualism) in Biel. The inventory is the product of a nationwide survey of the responsible cantonal education offices, all public primary and secondary schools, and schools at the upper secondary level (baccalaureate schools, specialised schools, vocational baccalaureate schools, vocational schools) that are believed to currently offer bilingual education programmes. The inventory contains information that is highly valuable for the future planning and implementation of language education in Switzerland as well as for future work in the area of multilingualism at school.

A list of all bilingual education programmes (inventory) as well as an overview of the teaching materials used, the language combinations and the distribution of bilingual education across the individual school levels are found in the publication Elmiger, Siegenthaler & Tunger (2022). Inventar des zweisprachigen Unterrichts in der Schweiz. Gesamtschau 2021/2022. Fribourg: Institute of Multilingualism. A summary of the report is also available as Zweisprachige Lehrgänge in der Schweiz: Gesamtschau 2022 und Perspektiven für die weitere Entwicklung, stored in the database for bilingual education in Switzerland, which can be accessed via the following link:

As part of the project immersion and bilingual education programmes in Switzerland, a literature review that summarises knowledge on bilingual teaching formats was developed.