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  #201  
Old 02.06.2021, 15:19
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

I think this is very regional, and applies to large urban areas only.

I don't know of any child being educated privately in the whole of my region, from even the wealthiest of families- and even in Neuchâtel town. The few who are seem to be mostly children of expats.

It is important to also consider the future of those children beyond private school. Be it at Uni, apprenticeships and work- as the basic idea perdures, that children who go to Private Schools do so because they can't hack 'real school' and their parents can pay.

Things have changed from my day- but the only kids who went to private school after secondary school- was because they did not have the grades to go to study at Gymnasium/Lycée.
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  #202  
Old 02.06.2021, 15:30
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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I think this is very regional, and applies to large urban areas only.

I don't know of any child being educated privately in the whole of my region, from even the wealthiest of families- and even in Neuchâtel town. The few who are seem to be mostly children of expats.

It is important to also consider the future of those children beyond private school. Be it at Uni, apprenticeships and work- as the basic idea perdures, that children who go to Private Schools do so because they can't hack 'real school' and their parents can pay.

Things have changed from my day- but the only kids who went to private school after secondary school- was because they did not have the grades to go to study at Gymnasium/Lycée.
Its interesting how this is almost identical to the Chinese attitude and almost the polar opposite to the British attitude (essentially - if you have the money go for it as the education will be much better).

I've promised myself I'm going to remain very flexible for my daughter - do whatever is best for her - don't simply impose my British values, but equally don't let the Swiss take her down a route I think would be wrong for her.

I'm a little worried as we are all rubbish at arts subjects and languages in my family - total science and maths specialists to a man. I did a Chemistry PhD and work in pharma, my sister is a lecturer in pharmacology and my brother is a clinical pharmacist (spot the pattern here!). Likewise, my wife did a maths degree. I wonder if I would have gotten into gymi were I Swiss... Switzerland doesn't seem to be kind to specialists. I was told that I passed my 11+ despite a rubbish essay because my maths was "too good to fail". Not sure that'd happen here?

PS As a native speaker I had to google "perdures"!

Last edited by HickvonFrick; 02.06.2021 at 15:40.
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  #203  
Old 02.06.2021, 15:50
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

And that is where inequalities will always be there- because the parents who are better off, can afford to pay for extra tuition in the subjects where they do not excel.

Yes, in the UK, the attitude to private education go very far back- and are deeply entrenched. The concept of 'choosing' a school too. And the unique very very narrow A'Level system, with only 3 and rarely 4 subjects studied beyond the age of 16- as compared to all the European very wide system where all subjects are continued, and all have to be passed at the same time- no re-takes as in UK system- you have to re-take all year and all subjects if you fail just the one.

Shouldn't have said 'UK', as the Scottish system seems to be a good compromise between the A'Lever versus Matu/Bac.
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  #204  
Old 02.06.2021, 15:56
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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And that is where inequalities will always be there- because the parents who are better off, can afford to pay for extra tuition in the subjects where they do not excel.

Yes, in the UK, the attitude to private education go very far back- and are deeply entrenched. The concept of 'choosing' a school too. And the unique very very narrow A'Level system, with only 3 and rarely 4 subjects studied beyond the age of 16- as compared to all the European very wide system where all subjects are continued, and all have to be passed at the same time- no re-takes as in UK system- you have to re-take all year and all subjects if you fail just the one.
I did the very balanced selection of Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology
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  #205  
Old 02.06.2021, 20:08
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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I've promised myself I'm going to remain very flexible for my daughter - do whatever is best for her - don't simply impose my British values, but equally don't let the Swiss take her down a route I think would be wrong for her.
But it is her life and she has a right to follow her dreams and be all that she can be. Forcing people to give up on their dreams because you think you know better is painful and usually ends in disaster. I have seen this go wrong to often.

My daughter did not want to go to college, it was our dream for her, not hers. We could have tried to force it but it would have been painful for her and a battle for us everyday. So she decided on an apprenticeship and she is very happy with it. We have never once had to chase her about home work, grades or getting up at 5:00 am to go to work. She is following her dream and taking responsibility for herself. College is still an option as she is doing the BM, but it will be her choice not ours.
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  #206  
Old 02.06.2021, 20:47
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

Bravo, and it is great that the Swiss system allows for transfer to a more academic route after apprenticeship, when a young adult and more aware of one's dreams and ambitions.
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  #207  
Old 02.06.2021, 20:51
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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I did the very balanced selection of Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology
Bravo- but to my mind- this is not balanced at all- sorry. Perhaps your comment was tongue and cheek.

As a 6th Form specialist, we lost so many of our best linguists, best musicians, best historians and geography students, and so many more- because their choice of career required them to get top Grades in science only, medicine, vet medicine, and so many more. Which was such a shame- as they would have truly benefited from a wider and more balanced choice.

On the other hand, the very wide Swiss Matu system is ridiculous at the other extreme. When students can fail a whole year because of 1/2 point in a subject which is NOT relevant to their future studies, have to retake full year, and then can fail agains due to 1/2 point in another subject they previously passed. cruel, stupid, nonsense.

Last edited by JackieH; 02.06.2021 at 23:47.
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  #208  
Old 03.06.2021, 04:30
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Bravo- but to my mind- this is not balanced at all- sorry. Perhaps your comment was tongue and cheek.
I'm surprised you have doubts, of course it is. Also see #202.

What's the difference between endure and per-dure please? Per-vasiveness and per-sistence?
(can't be bothered to look it up, I'd much rather badger the source)
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  #209  
Old 03.06.2021, 07:04
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Those numbers are rising, especially around public schools with many students with DAZ.
Or they do it like me and don't buy property in such areas, e.g. Oftringen.
Aww, didn't expect to read that from a teacher... Where's the no child left behind, no segregation yada yada. I am kidding, of course you're free to share the opinion of other parents... I have one counterargument to what you've written: in canton ZH, in some little cities these schools get a lot of resources and very good teachers. Anecdotes is all I know, but I trust the opinions of those people who shared them. So it's not like half of class of kids with DAZ would be the biggest misfortune or obstacle. Especially not when they're very young because they catch up so fast.
I also looked for the same thing but in the meantime I have changed my opinion a little.
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Old 03.06.2021, 21:30
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

Hi all - my two cents as a more recent data point for future readers. I am *very* pro-Swiss-local-public-schools!

We moved here in the summer of 2019. My kids (now almost 9 and 11) first went to a special integration class at the primary school in the middle of town (1 km away), with kids from all over, and were taught only intensive, immersive German (and a little Math) from August until February.

Starting in February 2020, they started going a few hours a week to be integrated into their respective classes at our local (1 block away) primary school. They only went a few weeks before lockdown, but they picked up homework packets from both classes during the lockdown weeks and I was shocked at how advanced they had gotten in that 6-7 months. By Pfingstferien they were completely integrated and going full time to our neighborhood primary school (my younger being pulled out of class once a week for DAZ for a few extra months into this school year).

Our only issue as parents was that our daughter's teacher didn't speak a word of any other language and couldn't (wouldn't?) find us an interpreter into any of 5 other languages that either my husband or I spoke. Parents' night we understood nothing, as it was all in Swiss, and for our sole conference I greatly imposed upon an acquaintance who interpreted on speakerphone. Don't get me wrong, I want to learn the language but money is tight and my inexpensive local class was cancelled for most of this last year due to covid space restrictions.

The kids had a bit of a hard time finding friends as their classes had mostly been together since preschool, but it seems to finally have all worked out - they are out and about with friends in the neighborhood most days until dark! I can't imagine another place on earth where kids have such safety/freedom, and I'm so grateful this is their experience growing up.
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  #211  
Old 03.06.2021, 22:04
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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But it is her life and she has a right to follow her dreams and be all that she can be. Forcing people to give up on their dreams because you think you know better is painful and usually ends in disaster. I have seen this go wrong to often.

My daughter did not want to go to college, it was our dream for her, not hers. We could have tried to force it but it would have been painful for her and a battle for us everyday. So she decided on an apprenticeship and she is very happy with it. We have never once had to chase her about home work, grades or getting up at 5:00 am to go to work. She is following her dream and taking responsibility for herself. College is still an option as she is doing the BM, but it will be her choice not ours.
Great advice. My own mother pushed me to apply for medicine, and I am ever thankful I didn't give in to her, as although it fits my academic profile as a scientist (which only encouraged her), I am not the right person at all. Practically inept and not a people person at all.

Several of my friends who went into medicine have gotten out and into law (where I ended up), as having medical expertise + a legal qualification opens some pretty lucrative areas, and medicine doesn't pay as well as middle class parents think!
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  #212  
Old 04.06.2021, 01:04
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Great advice. My own mother pushed me to apply for medicine, and I am ever thankful I didn't give in to her, as although it fits my academic profile as a scientist (which only encouraged her), I am not the right person at all. Practically inept and not a people person at all.

Several of my friends who went into medicine have gotten out and into law (where I ended up), as having medical expertise + a legal qualification opens some pretty lucrative areas, and medicine doesn't pay as well as middle class parents think!
Medicine seems to be a particularly difficult one...

I know one person in Ireland where both parents were teachers (one a headmaster) who pushed and pushed their daughter into medicine and she went along right up to a week before the final exam... she walked away and is now trying to get on the track she originally wanted to do - a primary school teacher!
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Old 04.06.2021, 07:36
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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Bravo- but to my mind- this is not balanced at all- sorry. Perhaps your comment was tongue and cheek.

As a 6th Form specialist, we lost so many of our best linguists, best musicians, best historians and geography students, and so many more- because their choice of career required them to get top Grades in science only, medicine, vet medicine, and so many more. Which was such a shame- as they would have truly benefited from a wider and more balanced choice.

On the other hand, the very wide Swiss Matu system is ridiculous at the other extreme. When students can fail a whole year because of 1/2 point in a subject which is NOT relevant to their future studies, have to retake full year, and then can fail agains due to 1/2 point in another subject they previously passed. cruel, stupid, nonsense.
It makes it more precious. If a foreign kid has gone through all of these, it would be really hard for the authorities later on to argue they don't belong here.
Though, I bet enough frustrated Eidgenosse would be ready to do that, because they couldn't. And probably neither their children. And JackieH, please don't try to say Switzerland will never!, we've seen Brexit and all that followed and preceded it. We see EF.
I still believe parents have a great role in all this gymnasium thing. I do not think that keeping your child motivated to aim higher and to help them with private tuition if or when needed, is wrong. Especially when you know their potential and you have created an atmosphere at home that stimulates them. To each, their own. Lessons on parenting, I take from nobody on EF.
In all fairness, so far I'm quite content with the Swiss education system. Outside EF, in the real world, the Swiss seem to recognise one's merits and abilities and encourage us to nurture them. I'm not joining the chorus who complains about the Swiss system.

Last edited by greenmount; 04.06.2021 at 07:55.
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  #214  
Old 04.06.2021, 08:23
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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I think this is very regional, and applies to large urban areas only.

I don't know of any child being educated privately in the whole of my region, from even the wealthiest of families- and even in Neuchâtel town. The few who are seem to be mostly children of expats.

It is important to also consider the future of those children beyond private school. Be it at Uni, apprenticeships and work- as the basic idea perdures, that children who go to Private Schools do so because they can't hack 'real school' and their parents can pay.

.
There are plenty of people sending their kids to private schools in Neuchâtel both Swiss and expats alike but there isn’t actually much choice here. There is the bi-lingual Montessori or the Catholic school for primary and one school for secondary but I’ve forgotten the name of it. Several Swiss families in the village sent their kids there and raved about it.

In the past I think it was due to these schools providing lunchtime and after school care which was seriously limited or non existant in the public schools for a long time. That’s certainly why our Swiss neighbours sent their son to the Catholic school in Neuchâtel rather than the local school in the village.
Some parents think the bi-lingual school will be a good opportunity for their children.

I agree though that the families who do send their children to private schools here are ones with more disposable income, either expat or Swiss.
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Old 12.06.2021, 00:14
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Re: Foreign Children is Swiss Public Schools

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Hello Margaret,

I live in the UAE now but I lived in Switzerland from age 3 - 12. I must say indeed that it was a very traumatic experience. I lived in Kanton Zurich and Schwyz. I must say that I really respect the school system and I think they're teaching method is one of the best in the world. After Switzerland I moved to Canada with my parents and I entered a depression phase because everything they were teaching in high school in Canada in grade 8, I had already learned in grade 4 or 5 in Switzerland.
Having said that, all my teachers were formidable people and I owe them many thanks.

The children and the parents are the onest that destroyed my childhood.The very few friends I occasionally made could not come over because apparently iranians are 'dirty and unhygienic' ( a mother said that to my face when I was 8 years old ). I wondered at these swiss parents even at that young age. How was it that swiss people walk barefoot on the street and with shoes in their house and then the iranian mothers who scrub from day to night and freak out if you sit with your outside clothes on the sofa are deemed dirty? The level of ignorance, hate and discrimination was unbearable.

From my experience at least 65% of swiss are culturally ignorant.

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Old 23.08.2021, 15:35
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

Wow… what a thread.
I just read all 11 pages.
I only stumbled upon this thread by coincident and I thought it was very interesting, so I read everything.

I want to share my opinion on the matter, even though my kids are yet too young to be in school (or even kindergarten – my sons are 3 years old and 13 months).
I'm Swiss (half German due to my mother) and I was born and raised here in canton Thurgau, in a village.
After I've completed high school (Realschule), I went to the USA for an exchange year (attended the local high school) and afterwards I did my apprenticeship for 3 years (Kaufmännische Lehre).
I did an internship and afterwards I went to China for almost 3 years and worked in several kindergartens to teach English.
Since end of 2014 I've been back in Switzerland and so it's been quite some time since I've been in a Swiss school, but I also got to experience the school system in the USA and in China and my husband has told me a lot of things from his school time in Pakistan.

I don't think the Swiss school system is the best (I personally have always hated that the children have to decide on their work path at such an early age), but I think a lot of things are done very well here. But it really is important that parents also consider the teachers/school's point of view. The children have to integrate and the parents should also do that. For me the only exception is, if they're planning on only staying in the country for a short time. If I would return to China, then I would really invest my time in learning Mandarin. I tried before, but I just really struggled and since my husband speaks it fluently, I lost more and more my motivation to learn it myself. And since I had never planned to stay in China for very long, it didn't seem that necessary (I still wish, I could've learned a bit more of course).

And in regards to the bullying, it really isn't just done to foreigners. I was also bullied and other Swiss people I know were too and the same happened to American kids in the USA and Chinese kids in China. That's just how kids are.
Kids always try to find something to insult someone else. The importance is that the adults around them (teachers, parents, etc…) teach them that it's not okay.
I also want to say that I had 2 bad teachers during my school years and my parents just talked to them in a polite way and when my brother was treated unfairly by his teacher, they also tried to handle it in a nice way. So just because a kid has problems at school, doesn't automatically mean it's related to them being foreigners.

I just get the feeling that a lot of people move abroad, even though they're not made for such a huge change in their lives. Leaving your home country is a huge challenge and it takes a lot of courage. To learn a new language, adapting to a totally different culture and learning how daily life works in the foreign country is really difficult and therefore, I think many people underestimate it and then obviously struggle.

Personally, I don't think we will stay in Switzerland, but that's because my husband and I enjoy a more exotic lifestyle. My husband is very well integrated (speaking German quite well and even understanding a lot of Swiss German), but he isn't made for a system that is so organized.
And I personally just find it boring living here, since I grew up here and I just find it more interesting living abroad.

But if we would be seeking a very safe, routine and organized country, then we would definitely stay in Switzerland.
And I wouldn't be worried about my children's education. But of course, times change and my personal experience was decades ago.
But since I'm working in an international company right now, I have colleagues with children in the school and they're all quite happy.
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Old 23.08.2021, 17:31
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

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...I personally have always hated that the children have to decide on their work path at such an early age...
This may have been the case in the past. It may also well be what some teachers till tell kids and parents. But it really isn't true true.

Swiss kid I know did an apprenticeship in accounting - and is now a social worker.
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Old 24.08.2021, 09:22
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Re: Foreign Children in Swiss Public Schools

A lot also depends on the individual schools and even teachers.

In the Kindergarten son attended, the class was run two recently qualified teachers who were bursting with enthusiasm and ideas and he and the other children gained a lot from it.

Also, because our son could already read quite well having attended literacy classes for Dutch speaking and English speaking children, the Kindergarten teachers would get him to do more challenging things - as literacy only starts in earnest in Zurich when the children reach primary school.

At the Primarschule, his class had the same teachers for the first three years and they were basically cruising to retirement. We got very little in the way of feedback about how our son was doing apart from the annual report which just writes numbers and a list of infractions. No indication at all of what he was doing well at, if there are any problems etc, is he happy etc - there was only one official parent-teacher meeting throughout the three years. They got very uppity when we asked for a meeting to discuss our son's progress. My wife and I both speak and understand German - so language is not a barrier at all.

It turns out we were not the only ones who had issues with those teachers - other parents in the neighbourhood, including one work colleague whose older daughters had been with those teachers in the early years said those particular teachers were hopeless.

When he got to fourth class (new teachers), a few weeks in to the autumn term, we got called in for a meeting. It turns out our son was acting up in class - mainly chatting, disturbing other kids etc. After some weeks of to-and-fro we reached the conclusion he was under-stimulated and after the Christmas holiday he was transferred to the fifth class. This was not too big a leap as his birthday is a few days after the "stichdatum" for selecting when children enter the school system - therefore he was until that point one of the oldest in the class, so he was not too much younger than the fifth-graders he joined. He also passed the Gymi entrance exam a year early when in 6th class.

In regard to bullying, we are lucky that our son has always been tall for his age - so less of a target, though he got some name-calling for being the brighter one in the class. I did learn from other parents at the school that bullying was quite rife there and the school's anti-bullying policy was not very well enforced.

IF you are not happy with something at the school, there are procedures for making your voice heard, starting with the class teacher, and escalating through the school leadership and to the local education authority. Yes, it will all be in local language and you might need a fluent friend to help you navigate it, but the channels are there.

I would not expect a teacher to speak English by default, but if a teacher starts insisting using dialect and not High German I will assume they have something to hide and that will get the alarm bells ringing even louder. At least in Stadt Zürich, High German is the standard classroom language in primary schools.

Cheers,
Nick
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