Social selectivity by social origin

According to the research, it is possible to predict the educational trajectory of future generations in Switzerland and their qualifications based on their social background. Therefore, the socio-economic status and the level of education of parents continue to determine the educational path of children today. It becomes therefore evident that equal opportunities in the educational system are still an ideal to be attained, as not everyone has the same starting opportunities at school. Research shows that the structure, institutional regulations and selection processes of the educational system reproduce existing social inequalities instead of reducing them.

The University of Freiburg has the objective of developing a strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion, and the Office for Equality is working on other dimensions of equality and diversity in this context. For example, the cooperation project "Social selectivity by social origin in higher education" started in March 2021 and is part of the federal program P7 Equal opportunities (equity) and development at universities. This topic was highlighted in the FRI 2021-24 message.

Recommendations to reduce social selectivity

This project focuses on issues related to barriers to access to university education and academic careers due to social background. The objectives of this project are to give more visibility to the topic of social selectivity, to develop recommendations and measures at the level of both universities and the Swiss educational policy in order to reduce the influence of social origin on educational pathways.


University of Fribourg is the leading house on this cooperation project, which is also supported by the Universities of Bern, Lucerne, St. Gallen and Zurich. The steering committee is made up of representatives of the partner institutions and experts in research and education.

At the cantonal level, the most important actors in the field, such as universities of applied sciences in teacher education, upper secondary schools, departments of education and career guidance centres, are involved in the discussions. The project also aims to organise a national exchange through a national conference.

Project coordination
University of Fribourg

Partners - Steering Committee
Office for Equality of the partner universities
University of Bern
University of Lucerne
University of St. Gallen
University of Zurich

Project timeline: March 2021 - December 2024

Contact :

Stephanie Voser, Muriel Besson