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Old 24.02.2020, 17:06
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How to get into The Swiss public school system?

So I just moved to Switzerland last week, I used to stay in the United Arab Emirate's in Dubai. I am 16 years of age and was studying in the 11th grade back in Dubai.
I really wanted to go to the Swiss public school because we plan to settle down in Switzerland and really I really want to integrate with the Swiss public.
I have come to Switzerland with "NO" prior knowledge of German, though I am slowly but surely learning.
I want to become a Software Developer (Coding), and hence want to go to a Swiss uni, like the ETH. Many people told me that I would have a better chance getting into a Swiss uni by getting admission into an international school, which is present in my current canton of Schaffhausen.
We have already taken a few steps into inquiring about my future in the Swiss education system by going to the local "Schuleamt", The person in charge over there gave us a form to fill, and told us that we would have to spend one year in a special school that focuses only on language and after that I would have to write the Matura examination and pass it, (Only if I am able to pick up that level of German in that one year.)
The lady has also scheduled a test for me tomorrow for Maths and English to test me on my current skills.
My final question is that is it really worth stepping back 3 years to go through the Swiss public school system or should i just take the International school route.
Also, I also wanted some tips on how to give this so called entrance exam and what exactly are they going to do with the results...
(NOTE- The in charge has also asked me for my past 2 years school report's which i am confused why is she asking...?)
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Old 24.02.2020, 18:27
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

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My final question is that is it really worth stepping back 3 years to go through the Swiss public school system...
Yes. But forget about going to university immediately following school. Get an apprenticeship in an IT related subject. Then get your Berufsmature, and go to a Fachhochschule and get a degree, then go to a university and get a masters. One of my kids is currently 24, and has just started her first year at FHS. It's normal.
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Old 24.02.2020, 18:36
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

Even for an apprenticeship you will need a very good level of the local language, as you need to go to school as well.

Tom
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Old 24.02.2020, 20:15
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

Welcome to Switzerland, and to the forum.

You say you're settling here and want to integrate: good for you!

If you are given the opportunity to go to a local Swiss school, I'd say grab it, and throw yourself into learning German, making progress every day.

The reason the assessor is asking for your school reports of the past two years is to try to assess your general level of education and willingness... things like whether you are overall, a weak or strong student in relation to the levels expected of you in the class you attended, whether, overall, you are hardworking or lazy, participatory, individual, self-motivated or need a lot of encouragement, and whether you have any particular weak subjects and any particularly strong talents, and so on.

Don't worry about showing her the reports. They are just one part of the puzzle.

If you have any books or notes or previous pieces of schoolwork which can show what you actually learnt and produced, they'd be good to take along, too. If you don't have such papers with you, perhaps you could find something online that is similar to the syllabus or the course-work you did.

Your previous school-work, your previous reports, and your level of understanding and ability in the tests you're being asked to do, all go - together - towards trying to assess your level, per subject, and the kind of school you could attend. You see, it could be that your knowledge and abilities are advanced (relative to a young Swiss person of your age) in some subjects, yet behind in others. This is because each country (and to some extent each school) sets their own targets.

The purposes of the assessment is to help you find a way to maximally use what you already know, and to fill any gaps (from a Swiss perspective) and to help you even out your levels, so as to give you the best chance to move forward, one way or another.

Last edited by doropfiz; 24.02.2020 at 20:31.
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Old 24.02.2020, 20:16
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

If you are admitted to the special "Integrationsklasse" or "Integrationsschule", you will learn German, but you won't be doing only German grammar and literature all day. No. You'll be doing other school subjects, too, but learning how to do them in German, and adapting your level to the Swiss school system.

Your progress during that year will help you, and help the teachers around you to understand whether you have the determination and mastery of German to get into Gymnasium and then university, or whether you should take an apprenticeship.

Please understand that in many other countries, an apprenticeship is looked down upon, as inferior, but this is not the case in Switzerland. An apprenticeship is a perfectly good way to gain a solid qualification.

And yes, you need German for both routes. You need a considerably better command of German to do Gymnasium. Therefore, at least in part, your motivation and determination to learn the language will influence your choices later. Some will say "Oh, no, not possible to learn German well enough for the academic route," but some others have truly achieved it. Both routes are fine. Good luck!
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Old 24.02.2020, 20:26
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

Doropfiz, will he still be accepted at that age? I thought that mandatory schooling stops at 16?
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Old 24.02.2020, 20:33
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

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Doropfiz, will he still be accepted at that age? I thought that mandatory schooling stops at 16?
It depends on the canton but here in Neuchâtel there are special courses provided for teenagers and young adults who move to Switzerland and don’t speak French.
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Old 24.02.2020, 21:41
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

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It depends on the canton but here in Neuchâtel there are special courses provided for teenagers and young adults who move to Switzerland and don’t speak French.
It makes economic sense. The alternative is supporting someone for 50 years on the social.
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Old 24.02.2020, 23:06
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

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Doropfiz, will he still be accepted at that age? I thought that mandatory schooling stops at 16?
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It makes economic sense.
Yes, it makes economic sense to help a teenager to find his way, so that he will become self-supporting. And yes, it depends on the canton, but also to some extent on the assessing officer and on the leeway within that canton's rules.

Some integration classes are part of the regular school system. They are designed to help the child learn the local language, to adjust their school levels to the Swiss sytem, to acculturalise, and then to feed into the regular school system. At 15 or 16, a dedicated, motivated teenager may possibly be just young enough to have the good fortune to be allowed to take this route, and then to complete secondary school or, with excellent progress in the local language, even to Gymnasium. Getting into Gymnasium at this stage is unusual, though, and this option is available only to a young person who has really made super progress in the local language.

The other type of integration class is not in a regular school, but at a kind of separate college. Such a school/college is for teenagers or young adults who are deemed too old to be allowed to attend regular school, but too young to just be left to fend for themselves without access to education. Some of the young people attend just one or just two years there, and then that's that. The ideal, though, is that they are then helped, through the school, to take the next step.

The next step from an integration "college" is sometimes to feed into a Gymnasium (see above about the language progress). At other times it is to feed into a regular apprenticeship. Yet other young people are first introduced to Swiss working life though a practial training year and then, if they prove themselves there, they are helped to find an apprenticeship. However, getting into a real apprenticeship is much better, once it becomes possible, either without that practical year, or after it.

Last edited by doropfiz; 25.02.2020 at 17:50.
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Old 25.02.2020, 08:19
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

Note that the apprenticeship you do does not have to be the career you follow. I know plenty of people whose apprenticeships were completely different from what they do now. E.g. from a finance apprenticeship at a large company to becoming a social worker.

Last edited by NotAllThere; 25.02.2020 at 11:49.
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Old 25.02.2020, 08:25
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

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Doropfiz, will he still be accepted at that age? I thought that mandatory schooling stops at 16?
Depends. Somewhere there are a couple years long waiting lists, only some get in.
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Old 25.02.2020, 08:26
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Re: How to get into The Swiss public school system?

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Note that the apprenticeship you do does not have to be the career you follow. I know plenty of people whose apprenticeships were completely different from what they do know. E.g. from a finance apprenticeship at a large company to becoming a social worker.
Most people I know, actually.
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