Liechtenstein's current educational system is based on a series of reforms launched in the middle of the 1980s and implemented in the 1990s, and is under regular review. The Constitution of Liechtenstein requires the state to supervise the whole system of education and schooling. National education in Liechtenstein offers a system of general and vocational education for pupils, students, trainees, and apprentices, which is unrestricted and free of charge. The educational system is responsible for providing students with access to a vocational education based on their abilities and interests. Studies of foreign languages are promoted to prepare students for the demands of a professional career of international interconnections. Pupils and students are motivated to be participants in a life-long learning process that will benefit both them and the nation. Through close collaboration with Liechtenstein's neighboring countries, Switzerland and Austria, options in all fields of education are available.
Liechtenstein's educational system is comparable to the educational systems found in other German-speaking countries. Kindergarten is voluntary and lasts for two years. In practice, 99 percent of all children attend kindergarten. Compulsory school attendance begins at age seven, continues for nine school years, and includes primary and secondary education levels. A voluntary tenth year is available for students to prepare for career opportunities and select professional choices. The Liechtenstein school year begins in mid-August and continues for 40 weeks. In addition to the public school statistics listed below, Liechtenstein has two private preprimary schools, two private primary schools, and one private secondary school. In the year 2000, Liechtenstein had 34 preprimary schools enrolling 334 male and 328 female students with a teaching staff of 59, fourteen primary schools employing 231 teachers for 281 male and 254 female students, and nine secondary schools enrolling 917 males and 931 females with a teaching faculty of 267.
Because of its small size, Liechtenstein is not able to offer a fully developed higher educational system within its own borders. Liechtenstein has two public universities. The Fachhochschule Liechtenstein (FHL) enrolls 330 students, 110 from Liechtenstein, in comprehensive programs of graduate and post-graduate vocational education in the fields of building management, international management, logistics, environmental technology, and economic engineering. Liechtenstein's vocational education system utilizes the apprenticeship as the practical method of instruction developed in partnership with the business community. Liechtenstein's second institution of higher learning, the Internationale Akademie fur Philosohie (IAP), offers a course of study in philosophy and enrolls 60 foreign students. The majority of Liechtenstein students graduating with Liechtenstein's university-entrance certificate study abroad in either Switzerland at Fribourg, St. Gall, or Berne universities or Austria in the fields of medicine, law, and economics. In Germany, individual study programs are granted to Liechtenstein students seeking higher education on a case by case basis by the German federal or state governments. A few students attend university in Great Britain and France and in the United States for postgraduate work. Adult education is assigned to non-profit-making institutions within Liechtenstein.
The government of Liechtenstein and the Department of Education supervise the whole educational system, provide the financial support for the population's education within the country and abroad, and determines the curricula and the accreditation of all educational institutions within the nation's borders. The Schulamt (Schools Office) oversees the education system at preprimary, primary, and secondary levels. The Schulamt reviews and recommends qualifications for teacher employment, teacher salaries, the level of state investment in the educational system, the inspection procedures for public and private schools, and curricula. The authority of the Schulamt extends to higher education and grants, pedagogy, media, and teaching materials. Oversight for vocational education is given to the Council of Vocational Education (Berufsbildungsrat), an advisory committee, and the National Authority of Vocational Education (Amt fur Berufsbildung) to administer and organize the system.