I am curious if people who are from another countries follow the same way with us :) For example in my country we sit for some university exams. At first stage over 2 million students sit for the first stage exam and the ones who get enough score get a chance to sit for other exams that are depend on what they want to study.
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I come from Switzerland. We have a very unique education system that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world (unfortunately, because I consider it extremely good).
Elementary (first to sixth grade) and secondary school (7th to 9th grade) is for everyone the same. This is also the mandatory part of school in Switzerland.
Once you are in 8th or 9th grade (age 14-15), you have to make a very important choice. There are two different educational paths to choose from. On the one hand, you can apply for high school (in Switzerland, we call it "Gymnasium"). However, you need to have had very good grades in 7th and 8th grade and you need to pass an extremely tough exam in several different subjects, including German, French, English, Math and Geometry and in some cases natural sciences. If you pass this exam, you get into Gymnasium. Gymnasium takes 4 years. At the end of this school (usually around the age of 19-20), you have to take another very tough exam. If you pass this final exam too, you are automatically licensed to enter any university you want. Contrary to other countries such as America, we don't have "good" and "bad" universities. We also don't have private universities. All Swiss universities are public and they are all considered very good and on a pretty similar level. So people usually just attend the one that is closest to where they live.
The other educational path is to quit school at age 15 and apply for a so-called apprenticeship. An apprenticeship usually lasts for 3-4 years. The purpose of apprenticeships is to teach you one specific job. However, you don't go to school anymore. Instead, you work in a company and your boss/coworkers teach you everything you need to know as you go along. Apprenticeships are especially common for craftsmen jobs such as becoming a carpenter, plumber, butcher, baker, mechanic, electrician etc. However, there are also more office-related apprenticeships, such as banking or becoming an employee in a travel agency. If you want to do a social job such as becoming a nurse or a medical assistant, you also need to do an apprenticeship. The advantage of doing an apprenticeship is that you already earn money at the age of 16. The disadvantage is that you're not allowed to go to university.
Universities in Switzerland are strictly for academic subjects (there's no such things as nursing or cooking colleges). And getting into Uni in Switzerland is very tough. Only about 15-20% of all people get into university.1