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Old 16.09.2008, 09:12
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The school system is being voted on?

I know very few of us are in a position to vote, ie we are not "true swiss" even though we may have lived in this country for a greater part of our lives (i digress..)
At the moment there is a process going on of reevaluating the schooling system. I live in Aarau, and as I understand it, there will still be different systems in each Kanton (of course?!).
I hear that some parties want 2 streams of secondary schools, and others want 3. There being different opinions on which "type of child" to put more money into: those with greater intellectual capacity or those who might need more help with schooling.
I am looking for opinions of others (powerless(?) but effected). I can read the news paper, so don't need articles..
What are your opinions? and how do you keep your kids having the best chances in the greater world, when they start traveling and working - like you did - in a foreign country?
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Old 16.09.2008, 14:12
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

TBH with you, you've had 58 views and not one response, maybe everyone else is having the same trouble understanding your question as I am. Could you perhaps rephrase it, although I won't be any help at all, I don't live in your canton and our daughter goes to International school.
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Old 16.09.2008, 14:26
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

Thank you!
I am worried about the changes in the school system. I would like to know what other parents with schoolaged children do, if anything, to ensure their children leave the system with an "adiquate " (whatever that may mean) education to allow them to get *good* jobs outside of Switzerland. (I mean "good" as in, at least at the level that mummy and daddy are qualified at/employed as - who were also good enough to get a job in another country.)
You did answer my question in a way - you sent your daughter to an international school (!)
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Old 16.09.2008, 15:28
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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I hear that some parties want 2 streams of secondary schools, and others want 3. There being different opinions on which "type of child" to put more money into: those with greater intellectual capacity or those who might need more help with schooling.
Do you know at what age the Swiss schools start to figure out who will be the next generations rocket-scientists and garbage men? (No offense to any garbage men out there! ...or rocket-scientists either! )

But I don't really like the idea of "filtering" the kids at such an early age (ie: before they graduate high-school). I was lazy in school and didn't realize my potential until later in life. I would have hated to be rail-roaded into a dead-end job when I was only 6 years old!
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Old 16.09.2008, 15:44
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

Hi,
I understand your concerns regarding the Swiss system from an outsiders view point. Our children are in the local system and are currently in the General tier of secondary school (ie the middle) and so are not destined to go on to University. For those staying in CH then an apprenticeship would be the standard route for these children, and from what I can see, professional apprenticeships (like commercial, business, IT, etc) seem to be very through incorporating a couple of days at college with on the job experience, however if students leave secondary school with good marks (note of 5 in the core subjects) then they can still get entry into pre university colleges.

At least with the Swiss way everyone in theory is qualified for something by the age of 18/19. From my research it seems the children leaving school here with notes of more than 4 in individual subjects would be considered equivalent to a GSCE in the UK and I would hope similar standards in other countries, therefore I would hope that it would be possible for a 16year old to enter into pre university studies in at least the UK.
Don’t forget, there are loads of Swiss expats travelling and working in other countries just like you and us and they’ve all been through the same system.
Clear as mud eh?
Nick
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Old 16.09.2008, 15:50
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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Do you know at what age the Swiss schools start to figure out who will be the next generations rocket-scientists and garbage men? (No offense to any garbage men out there! ...or rocket-scientists either! )

But I don't really like the idea of "filtering" the kids at such an early age (ie: before they graduate high-school). I was lazy in school and didn't realize my potential until later in life. I would have hated to be rail-roaded into a dead-end job when I was only 6 years old!
The "filtering" at least in Bern, starts in 6th grade. The 2 options are Realschule which is normal school and the other is Sekundarschule which is a more advanced. Children who don't make it into Sekundarschule still have a chance later in 6th & 7th grade during Real to move up. Also kids who can't cope in Sekundar can go down to Real. In Bern there is a 3rd level called SSN or Spez.Sek. This level is from 8th grade and is open for kids who are willing to take on an even more advanced level than Sekundarschule. 8th grade is a preperation level for 9th grade - in 9th they enter 1st year Gymnasium. My son did Realschule and is now has an apprenticeship and my daughter is in SpezSek and is working towards Gymnasium. Kids who finish Realschule can still do 10th grade if they choose to, a good course for those who haven't found an apprenticeship or want to continue formal education anyway.
The system isn't terrific but I have to say, my son hated every second of school and for him the day he finished was the happiest in his life. He was really looking forward to starting his apprenticeship and eventhough I have some regrets he didn't go the same road as his sister, I can see that in the long run, he wouldn't have managed to keep up because he was that disinterested in school. Apprenticeship is not a bad thing either - my son will now do 3 years of on the job training, he chose the profession himself and he goes to school 1 full day a week. After apprenticeship he wants to do a Berufsmatura. The apprenticeship is also not necessarily what they do for the rest of their lives. I have met a lot of Swiss people who started out with one thing and then finally ended up in a completely different profession.
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Old 16.09.2008, 15:59
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

I think it would be better for them to vote on day schools or not...to start with before filtering kids....

As it's been said before most kids get a qualification in something or another by the time there 20years old so what does it matter if we filter or not everyone gets there chance...

I didn't know for a long time what i wanted to do and at the age (nearly 30) i am going to uni, which i never thought i would do or be able to do so what does it matter what they vote, most of the people change what job they do more than once in a lifetime.....
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Old 16.09.2008, 16:30
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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But I don't really like the idea of "filtering" the kids at such an early age (ie: before they graduate high-school). I was lazy in school and didn't realize my potential until later in life. I would have hated to be rail-roaded into a dead-end job when I was only 6 years old!
"Streaming" (the term I am familiar with from Australia, although it is in no way common practice there) is not about "railroading" people into particular jobs, it is about allowing smarter/harder working children to move ahead faster than they would otherwise be able to, and putting more focus on ensuring "slower" children pick up the critical skills before someone tries to teach them about more "flowery" stuff (like, say, poetry interpretation or creative writing).

There's no reason to put "more money" (to quote the original poster) into one group of children or the other - the point is to use the money most effectively to provide the highest benefit to children based on their abilities rather than their age.

My belief (based on extensive discussions of this topic over the years with teachers), is that the best place to start the "streaming" selection is around what would the latter stages of primary school (grades 6-7) in Australia - so at around ages 10-12. Although, from a practical perspective, the first year of High School (age 12-13) is probably easier, since many children go to a High School that is completely unrelated to their Primary School.
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Old 16.09.2008, 16:35
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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Do you know at what age the Swiss schools start to figure out who will be the next generations rocket-scientists and garbage men? (No offense to any garbage men out there! ...or rocket-scientists either! )

But I don't really like the idea of "filtering" the kids at such an early age (ie: before they graduate high-school). I was lazy in school and didn't realize my potential until later in life. I would have hated to be rail-roaded into a dead-end job when I was only 6 years old!
But the system should filter out the outstanding units and encourage them to develop their talents. Unfortunately in many cases the systems equals everyone to the lowest possible level - thus ensuring the 'equality of chances' :/
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Old 16.09.2008, 17:26
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

I agree with streaming. My son's 8 at the moment, and (I know all parents say this) very bright across all his school subjects. But, leaving aside the fact that he's only got a couple of yrs to get the French fully up to speed, I'm not sure he'll make the top stream here. He just doesn't like to work hard enough - he does the bare minimum to scrape by every time.

So why should he be 'allowed' into the top stream, where he would probably drag down the speed the class could work at because he didn't quite get round to reading the assignment last night, or left the second page of sums unfinished because he wanted to go out and play?

I understand the poster above who commented that in a streaming system they would have been penalised for being 'lazy' throughout their school days, and it will be a shame if my son doesn't get brought on to his absolute potential at school. But having to keep everything simple for the slow or lazy kids is just penalising the bright, focused kids who ARE at a life stage where they're ready to learn.

My husband (also bright, also lazy at school) left school at 16, got a selection of technical mechanic-type qualifications (City & Guilds), then at 20 decided that he was in a dead-end job/life and needed to do something about it. He went to university, got a degree and Masters, and is now in a director-level job with a multinational company - you know, the kind of job that gets you and your family posted on expat assignments to Switzerland!

I shall just have to try very hard to remember that if my son doesn't make the top level cut, he's just a late developer taking after his dad...

kodokan
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Old 16.09.2008, 17:57
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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Do you know at what age the Swiss schools start to figure out who will be the next generations rocket-scientists and garbage men? (No offense to any garbage men out there! ...or rocket-scientists either! )

This is a little off topic, but in California, garbage men were making over 25 dollars an hour. The people who worked in the sewers were making about 35 dollars an hour.

(that was 10 yrs ago, i dont know the wages now)

I was an office assistant that was only making 10 dollars an hour, but if i passed my next test i woud have been making 16 dollars an hour.

Go figure.

Oh, and dont get me wrong, i wont be bragging about this to my kids and telling them that applying themselves in school is usless. I will just point at their Aunt who is a Dr. or the Firemen they so much admire and tell them they can be anything they want if they are willing to put forth the effort.
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Old 16.09.2008, 18:27
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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"Streaming" (the term I am familiar with from Australia, although it is in no way common practice there) is not about "railroading" people into particular jobs, it is about allowing smarter/harder working children to move ahead faster than they would otherwise be able to, and putting more focus on ensuring "slower" children pick up the critical skills before someone tries to teach them about more "flowery" stuff (like, say, poetry interpretation or creative writing)..
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But the system should filter out the outstanding units and encourage them to develop their talents. Unfortunately in many cases the systems equals everyone to the lowest possible level - thus ensuring the 'equality of chances' :/
Where I went to school in New York, there was also "special program schools" for problem kids (ie: had police records or several children before graduating high-school), where they were taught some basic job skill and tossed out into the world. Conversely, there were also "gifted" programs for students who clearly excelled in class, where they could learn more challenging things to prepare them for college. But these were both fringe groups. Maybe the 10% of the worst and 10% of the best.

The rest all got the same classes. If you were bright, then you got good grades (and more chances after high-school for better colleges) if you weren't so bright then you got bad grades...but still were exposed to the same teaching...even if it didn't sink in or you got a bad grade, you still received the same education...and maybe some stuff stayed in the back of your head, or when someone said "calculus" you would at least know what they were talking about to an extent..

...but in CH they evaluate each kid in 6th grade and determine how bright they are and then segregate them. For the kids who are determined "not-so-bright" it is pretty much rail-roading them in my opinion, as they won't be exposed to the same teaching as the other kids. ...plus it's got to be a blow to the kids self-esteem if he's seperated from his (maybe only slightly brighter) friends.
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Old 16.09.2008, 18:37
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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I would like to know what other parents with schoolaged children do, if anything, to ensure their children leave the system with an "adiquate " (whatever that may mean) education to allow them to get *good* jobs outside of Switzerland.
Are you trying to say Swiss schools have a lower standard than schools outside of Switzerland that we should be worried that our children would be able to get a good job outside of the country..?? And why would we worry about them getting jobs outside of Switzerland anyway when many expat kids that grow up here are more likely to stay here as an adult.
My daughter was born here, speaks fluent English, French, Swiss and high German, dabbles in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Can you name one English speaking country where multi lingual children are the norm..?
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Old 16.09.2008, 19:47
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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My daughter was born here, speaks fluent English, French, Swiss and high German, dabbles in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Can you name one English speaking country where multi lingual children are the norm..?
I have huge respect for people who are fluent in several languages, however, this is not really a good measure. Not being multi-lingual (at the very least, mother tongue+English) in continental Europe presents a non-trivial life disadvantage (especially in any sort of professional capacity). Not being multilingual in pretty much any English-speaking country makes no meaningful difference at all. Additionally, being multilingual in the average English-speaking country doesn't really offer significant advantages (and, hence, is not a priority for school systems).

Further, multiple languages are everywhere in Europe, especially in Switzerland, encouraging both learning and reinforcement at an unconscious level. Not having to specifically go out of your way to be exposed to other languages helps immensely in achieving fluency.


Multilingual students are a product of the education system's objectives, not its quality. I have little doubt that schools in English-speaking countries whose curriculums have a similar priorities produce similar results (several of my friends from Australia, the UK and the US speak at least 2, if not 3 or more languages - sadly, I am not one of them ).
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Old 16.09.2008, 20:46
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

Hi all. Thanks for your input.
With respect to; do I think Swiss schools are of a lower standard than those of other countries
1) my opinion is an opinion and may have little to do with fact so is irrelivant.
2) The Pisa studies that have been in the papers over the years has spurred a lot of discussion over the quality of the Swiss schooling system. That having been said, an individuals success is often not dependant on which school system they went through.

With respect to if our children will be in this country at the age of 30 (or so..) look at their example- you guys all left your home town and sought your fortunes in the greater world. Their world is bigger, faster, harder tougher than ours will ever be. Even taking a surfer break in Bali for a few years wasn't what it used to be... I only assume that the "itchy feet" is somewhere in the genes.. and you guys all seem to have them, so whats to say your children dont?
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Old 16.09.2008, 21:21
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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I am looking for opinions of others (powerless(?) but effected). I can read the news paper, so don't need articles..
What are your opinions?
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With respect to; do I think Swiss schools are of a lower standard than those of other countries
1) my opinion is an opinion and may have little to do with fact so is irrelivant.
Which pretty much sums up "our" opinions.. so why ask?
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Old 16.09.2008, 21:30
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

Do you know if this will affect schools in Ticino?
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Old 17.09.2008, 12:46
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

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Do you know if this will affect schools in Ticino?
Assuming that the OP is speaking of HarmoS: The cantons that have joined it so far are Schaffhausen, Glarus, Vaud, Jura and Neuchatel. No canton has so far decided to not join. Five cantons will have a public vote about it this year: LU, TG, GR, SG, ZH.

HarmoS is the intercantonal reform fo homogenise the structure and partly curriculum of the public school in the cantons:

2 years kindergarten + 6 years elementary school + 3 years secondary school

It should improve at least the inter-cantonal mobility of families.
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Old 17.09.2008, 12:57
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

Thanks Nathu! My son is in middle school, which is 4 years and I'm still trying to find out what happens after that. How does high school work in Ticino? How many years is it?
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Old 17.09.2008, 14:13
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Re: The school system is being voted on?

I forgot to say thank you to DrSmithy yesterday for the positive note on the system here. My kids have only just entered it and I know so little about it.
Thank you to Nathu for some facts.

I believe in streaming, though I spoke with a girl who went to Real school here (which is the lowest of 3 tiers in Wettingen). She felt very sad, and felt she was put on the "dumb" pile. Some of these kids do seem to have a grudge (We live next to the school). Maybe it would be better for them to have only 2 streams, like mentioned above, in Bern.

And yes, consistant throughout the land would be good too
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