Coeducation in physical education in Switzerland – A national inventory of the legal basis and its implementation

Keywords: coeducation, gender, physical education, curriculum



In Switzerland, sporting activity among girls and young women has increased in recent years. In comparison, however, boys and young men continue to show a higher level of sporting activity at every age level and in all language regions (Lamprecht et al., 2021). As physical education (PE) lessons are an important socialisation factor for extracurricular sports activities, the question arises as to how PE is taught in Switzerland to do justice to the genders.

To date, there has been little scientific research in Switzerland into which cantons implement coeducational PE and which legal or regulatory bases they rely on. Due to this research gap, this contribution will analyse which cantons implement coeducational PE and to what extent these can be linked to the legal bases or language-regional curricula.


With the help of a document analysis of the current legal and regulatory bases as well as the three language-regional curricula a national inventory of the existing guidelines is conducted. Furthermore, a qualitative survey of all cantonal school offices analyses the current situation regarding coeducational PE lessons in compulsory education in Switzerland.


The results indicate that there are level-specific, cantonal, and language-regional differences. Language cultural differences are particularly evident at lower secondary school level, since in the German-speaking cantons PE lessons are mostly mono-educational and in the French and Italian-speaking cantons they are usually coeducational (Hayoz, under review).


In the German-speaking cantons, especially for lower secondary level, the organisational recommendations given in these curricula are used by the municipalities and schools to make and legitimise their decisions. This recommendation can be critically reflected upon and discussed regarding the holistic educational goals of compulsory schooling, as the aim is to provide competence-orientated PE lessons and to promote interdisciplinary skills. According to Alfermann (1992), it must be questioned why precisely this differentiation feature – and no other heterogeneity feature – is used to divide the existing classes. Although performance is a constitutive characteristic for schools and for sport in general, performance is merely one “pedagogical perspective” among many for PE lessons (Frohn, 2019).


In order to analyse the specific didactic implementation of mono- and coeducational teaching in PE and to better understand the language-cultural differences, further national studies would be necessary at both local as well as school level.


Alfermann, D. (1992). Koedukation im Sportunterricht [Co-education in physical education]. Sportwissenschaft, 22(3), 323–343.

Frohn, J. (2019). Geschlechter(re)konstruktionen im Sportunterricht aus Schüler*innensicht – eine Längsschnittstudie [Gender (re)constructions in physical education from the students’ perspective – A longitudinal study]. In J. Frohn, E. Gramespacher & J. Süßenbach (Eds.), Stand und Perspektiven der sportwissenschaftlichen Geschlechterforschung (Vol. 279, pp. 79–85). Feldhaus.

Hayoz, C. (under review). Koedukation im Bewegungs- und Sportunterricht in der Schweiz – eine nationale Bestandsaufnahme der gesetzlichen Grundlagen und ihrer Implementation [Co-education in physical education and sport lessons in Switzerland – A national survey of the legal basis and its implementation]. Zeitschrift für sportpädagogische Forschung.

Lamprecht, M., Bürgi, R., Gebert, A., & Stamm, H. P. (2021). Sport Schweiz 2020: Kinder- und Jugendbericht [Sport Switzerland 2020: Report on children and young people]. Bundesamt für Sport.

How to Cite
Hayoz, C. (2024). Coeducation in physical education in Switzerland – A national inventory of the legal basis and its implementation. Current Issues in Sport Science (CISS), 9(2), 007.
Symposium 3: Gender and diversity concepts in sport and physical education: Long-standing issues, current developments, future prospects