New head at educationsuisse

Barbara Sulzer Smith took up her position as head of the educationsuisse business office on 1 June. Sulzer Smith studied at the University of St. Gallen (HSG), was head of the Swiss school in Barcelona from 2010 to 2014 and also spent two years on the board of educationsuisse. She is head of both departments at educationsuisse: Swiss Schools and Education in Switzerland.

Four questions for Barbara Sulzer Smith

“Swiss Review”: What motivated you to take the position at educationsuisse?

Barbara Sulzer Smith: The Swiss schools abroad are very close to my heart and I see great development potential for them. I left the Swiss school in Barcelona in summer 2014 for family reasons and am now very much looking forward to continuing to work for the Swiss schools and being involved in their development over the coming years.

Why are the Swiss schools abroad important?

They have a great image in the host countries and ideally support federal government with the implementation of its foreign policy objectives. On the one hand, our education system, a successful Swiss product, is exported through the schools and, on the other, the schools have outstanding networks through pupils, parents, teachers and local institutions. This fosters relations between the host country and Switzerland.

Why in your view is Switzerland such an attractive country in terms of education?

I believe the holistic approach to education, the linguistic didactics and the conveying of (Swiss) values are the cornerstones of the Swiss education system and the stand-out features of our schools abroad compared with other international schools. I regard vocational training as another attractive element of Swiss national education. This aspect has not been exported sufficiently to date and definitely offers potential for the future.

Are pupils leaving the Swiss schools abroad sufficiently equipped for study in Switzerland?

Yes, generally. However, the top Swiss universities, such as the Federal Institutes of Technology, represent a huge challenge even for students from Switzerland. Often, however, pupils leaving the Swiss schools and their families only know these top universities and want to study there at all costs despite another educational establishment or perhaps even a different educational path being more suitable.

Information about education in Switzerland and the Swiss schools is provided at


The contact details of educationsuisse’s two departments are as follows:

Swiss Schools Abroad Tel. +41 (0)31 356 61 20

Education in Switzerland Tel. +41 (0)31 356 61 04

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