Authorizations to open and to operate private schools

Mission and Mandate

The Department of Education, Culture and Sport exercises general control over private education in Geneva in the fields of compulsory and post-compulsory education, and vocational training.

The Private Education Service is responsible for assuring this supervision. It issues the authorizations to open and to operate private schools. It also has the mission of informing the public, as well as the schools, and of publishing the list of authorized private schools on the Internet.

Authorization to operate a private school

The operation of a private school within the canton of Geneva is subject to a prior authorization from the Department of Education, Culture and Sport. It is issued as long as the general terms and conditions of operation do not comprise anything contrary to public policy, morality and hygiene.

The application for authorization to operate a private school must be filed before the launch of the advertising campaign and the opening of the courses. The documents to be given to the Private Education Service must be translated into French, the official language of the administration of the Canton of Geneva. A sufficient lapse of time should be provided for the examination of the file. Further information, an interview, or the consultation of other services or organizations may sometimes prove to be necessary depending on the complexity of the project.

Some structures are not classed as schools (sports centres, personal development courses, coaching, customer services, workshops, education by correspondence or by Internet). In case of doubt, please inquire.

An authorization to operate private schools in the field of higher education, such as business schools, is no longer required in Geneva.

According to the Federal act on the Funding and Coordination of the Higher Education Sector (HEdA), the designations "university", "university of applied Sciences" or "university of teacher education" and derived designations such as "university college" or "UAS college" can only be used by private institutions that have been institutionally accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Council (CSA). This also applies to designations in languages other than Swiss national languages. For further information :

In general, private establishments as well as the diplomas that they award are not recognized by the Swiss Confederation nor by the Canton of Geneva. The authorization to operate delivered by Service de l’enseignement privé cannot therefore be considered as recognition or certification.

Service d'autorisation et de surveillance de l'enseignement privé
Chemin de l'Echo 5A
1213 Onex
Tél: +41 22 546 72 60

Last updated
8 February 2023

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