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Old 19.06.2009, 18:08
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Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Dear all

I graduated from Ireland with a bachelor degree in Mathematics last year, now I have become a resident in Switzerland and would like to find a university in which I can do a master course that enables me to become a school math teacher in Switzerland after the study. I have checked several websites of the universities in Switzerland, but haven't found such a course. I would really appreciate it if you could advise me on this. Also does anybody knows the basic requirement for school teachers? Do I have to speak at least two of the official languages fluently? In Ireland to become a primary school teacher one has to speak both English and Irish, because of this, I knew a classmate of mine went to England to become a teacher.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 19.06.2009, 18:32
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

For kindergarten and elementary and secondary public schools, you need a qualification from the teacher training college. In Zurich there's one called Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich. For teaching at Gymnasium, you need a master in math and a Master of Advanced Studies in Secondary and Higher Education that you can get p.e. at the University of Zurich (also called Höheres Lehramt locally). According to their own website this is an investment of 3-6 semesters. For private schools, other requirements may apply.

As a math teacher I assume that being fluent in the main language of the local education is a must.
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Old 19.06.2009, 18:57
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Hi Nathu

Thanks a lot for your useful information. While waiting for the reply to this post, I just found a college called Educational university of the FHNW, it also offers diplomas in secondary teacher training.

My German is far away from being fluent, even though I'm spending time learning it, I doubt if I can be good enough to teach secondary school in a year or two. It may be a very unrealistic goal. I'll contact the schools mentioned in your reply next week to find out more about their admission requirements.

It's very lucky of me to have a math teacher answering my questions. Could I just be a bit more curious, to ask about your own experience of becoming a teacher in Switzerland? Were you already fluent in German/French/Italian during your university study, if you are not native Swiss? If not, how long did it take you to become fluent enough to be a teacher? Did you do your teacher training in Switzerland or abroad?

Sorry for asking your personally. It's just that I'm kind of lost since I finished my study and came to Switzerland. Everything is so different from the environment I was so comfortable with. Your kind words are much appreciated.
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Old 19.06.2009, 19:27
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Hi Olivia.
In Ireland you would need a BA and a HDip as well as passing oral exam in Irish (unless that's changed) for a secondary school. You would need to be qualified to teach two subjects (Maths and Biology for example), I think that is the case here too.
I'm not sure if an Irish BA is the equivalent of a masters here or not, titles change in "value" across different countries! The problem I see is that for public school you would have to teach in the local language, and the equivalent of the HDip would need to be studied in it surely?
Maybe that isn't the case.
Good luck, hope you find what you need.

Last edited by mabern; 19.06.2009 at 20:03.
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Old 19.06.2009, 20:08
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

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Hi Olivia.
In Ireland you would need a BA and a HDip as well as passing oral exam in Irish (unless that's changed) for a secondary school. I'm not sure if an Irish BA is the equivalent of a masters here or not, titles change in "value" across different countries! The problem I see is that for public school you would have to teach in the local language, and the equivalent of the HDip would need to be studied in it surely?
Maybe that isn't the case.
Good luck, hope you find what you need.
Thanks for your reply mabern.

Yes a Higher diploma is what I'm looking for as a BA/BS alone is not enough for becoming a teacher. I think the fact that I gained the degree from Ireland doesn't change anything.

Now the more I thought about it, the more difficult it sounds to be a teacher in a foreign country. Imagine some students asking me questions in Swiss German!

I think I've mistaken Nathu for a math teacher. My apologies!
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Old 19.06.2009, 20:18
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Oh dear, I'm not a math teacher I'm Swiss and went to school here, that's why I'm familiar with the system. Also several of my friends are or were at PHZH and one acquaintance is currently doing the master of advanced education to become a language teacher. They're all native German speakers but if you want to know more, maybe they can help...

I'm not sure how many teachers read EF. The majority is probably teaching at private schools but maybe they are in the know about language requirements anyway. What I can tell from my own time at Gymnasium is that we had indeed a (good!) German teacher from Armenia who understood dialect but only spoke High German, and an English teacher whose German quotes also contributed to the graduation magazine Still it's tough to get there, don't underestimate it, you do the right thing investigating this now.
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Old 19.06.2009, 23:21
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

You could check out the international schools, find out what teaching qualification they require... at least you could then teach Maths through English -until you are fluent in Swiss at least!
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Old 22.06.2009, 09:39
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Yesterday there was an article in NZZ am Sonntag. Swiss gymnasiums face a shortage of teachers in the natural sciences. It's one of the professions where many German expats already help out. If you're ready to learn the language, the job market will still be in need for teachers like you a few years from now.
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Old 02.02.2014, 17:50
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Dear ALL,

I have just read your post from 2009 where you asked for information regarding becoming a maths teacher in Switzerland.

I live in Zurich, speak bad German (buts its improving), have a bachelor in Economics and I have decided I want to be a Maths teacher, specifically in a international secondary school in Zurich.

Friends, what would you recommend for someone who wants to get to a qualified teacher level?

I am planning to contact the 'PH Zurich' people on Monday morning, along with contacting the various international schools in the area to see what they suggest.

The uni of Zurich provide a course, but its in only high german...not going to happen for another few years I think.

Many manyyy thanks,
Oscar
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Old 02.02.2014, 18:43
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Hi Oscario,

Definitely start with PH Uni, they hold monopoly over most things teaching related. If you want a bachelor in Education, PH would be the place to do it.

As far as International Schools go, it's a very desired market for a lot of worldwide teachers, and competition is very high for long time teachers (I was looking at this option, being a teacher myself). International Schools almost always demand a degree in Education, because unlike private schools, they still follow a specific curriculum (sometimes American, Canadian, etc) and thus must follow rules.

Private Schools would be easier in terms of obtaining a position without having a specific degree in Education.

You may want to look into Education Job Fairs (London has a huge one every year, where most desired International schools get their candidates from).
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Old 03.02.2014, 07:15
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

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International Schools almost always demand a degree in Education, because unlike private schools, they still follow a specific curriculum (sometimes American, Canadian, etc) and thus must follow rules.

Private Schools would be easier in terms of obtaining a position without having a specific degree in Education.
This is not true, well, definitely not in Zurich. International schools exist outside the Swiss system and set their own rules, and not all of them are accredited or required to follow a foreign system either. If they are demanding education degrees, it is because it is wise and prudent, and what parents expect.

Most swiss private schools are accredited with the Swiss system and must therefore follow the local requirements for accreditation, including curriculum requirements and staff qualifications.
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Old 03.02.2014, 22:29
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

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This is not true, well, definitely not in Zurich. International schools exist outside the Swiss system and set their own rules, and not all of them are accredited or required to follow a foreign system either. If they are demanding education degrees, it is because it is wise and prudent, and what parents expect.

Most swiss private schools are accredited with the Swiss system and must therefore follow the local requirements for accreditation, including curriculum requirements and staff qualifications.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Can you elaborate a bit here ?
What accrediation are you refering to?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 04.02.2014, 05:53
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Sure, in canton Zurich the Swiss private schools are accountable to the bildungsdirektion for issues such as space, building and fire regulations, to the private schools department for teacher qualifications and curriculum checking (eg. How and when second and third languages are introduced, and specific subject area). If they have an after-school hours programme, it must comply with the local regulations for the 'Hort' which is out of school hours care, and covers things such as group ratios to staff, and qualification of supervisors.

Language requirements will also be an issue. In Zurich there are exemptions from bilingual schools where a teacher is teaching in English.

There are also compliance issues with enrolments, age profiles, recording of attendance, notifying authorities of the children who are enrolled. In Zurich the English-medium schools which are the ones people would generally call the 'international' schools were recently restricted to enrolling only children whose families are foreigners who do not intend to stay permanently in Switzerland. For others, the choice is government schooling or private schooling. In Zurich there are quite a few English/German bilingual schools, but we also have a German-Italian school the Montessori bilingual schools which are German-English, a private school that is German dominant that is targeted to gifted and talented students, and others.

At the primary school level, complying with Swiss curriculum in Zurich means having German as a key language, with the introduction of both English and French by the end of the primary school, ad well as subject such as handcrafts, sport, And the usual spread of general subjects. In the secondary, the obvious indicator would be whether a student will graduate with a certificate or mature that will allow them direct entry to a Swiss university or higher education stream.
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Old 04.02.2014, 10:26
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

I taught French (and German) my mother-tongue in the UK. But I still needed fluent English to do my B.Ed.Hons Degree, and to take full part in the life of the school and be able to support students and staff outside the classroom. Makes sense (of course in UK you also have to be a Form Tutor with a much wider role).

It took me 8 years of hard work to get to the necessary level in English to be admitted, and to be able to cope with the study and writing formal essays and exams in English.

Last edited by Odile; 04.02.2014 at 22:11.
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Old 04.02.2014, 21:21
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

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Sure, in canton Zurich the Swiss private schools are accountable to the bildungsdirektion for issues such as space, building and fire regulations, to the private schools department for teacher qualifications and curriculum checking (eg. How and when second and third languages are introduced, and specific subject area). If they have an after-school hours programme, it must comply with the local regulations for the 'Hort' which is out of school hours care, and covers things such as group ratios to staff, and qualification of supervisors.

Language requirements will also be an issue. In Zurich there are exemptions from bilingual schools where a teacher is teaching in English.

There are also compliance issues with enrolments, age profiles, recording of attendance, notifying authorities of the children who are enrolled. In Zurich the English-medium schools which are the ones people would generally call the 'international' schools were recently restricted to enrolling only children whose families are foreigners who do not intend to stay permanently in Switzerland. For others, the choice is government schooling or private schooling. In Zurich there are quite a few English/German bilingual schools, but we also have a German-Italian school the Montessori bilingual schools which are German-English, a private school that is German dominant that is targeted to gifted and talented students, and others.

At the primary school level, complying with Swiss curriculum in Zurich means having German as a key language, with the introduction of both English and French by the end of the primary school, ad well as subject such as handcrafts, sport, And the usual spread of general subjects. In the secondary, the obvious indicator would be whether a student will graduate with a certificate or mature that will allow them direct entry to a Swiss university or higher education stream.
Thank you swisspea for bringing further information.

I'd would like to precise the following: theese "matters"of compliance for private/international schools with our swiss education system have nothing to do with an official accreditation by swiss authorities.
In other words if private/international schools fullfill certain criteria (eg. the ones you quote in your post) to qualify them as "accredited with the swiss system" can be misleading.
Regarding study-programmes/schools, accreditation (in Switzerland) is a very formal, special and legal procedure conducted by an official body or a private company to check the quality of a study-programme or schools/institutions, based on the corresponding accreditation bill or rule.
In Switzerland, accreditation is allways a separate and individual procedure to each study-programme/school and is not required -from the swiss bodies, for private/international schools.
The criteria you mention are mandatory to get the authorisation of the swiss bodies to start a business consisting of a private/international school. To conduct an accreditation is a totally different procedure, decided not by the swiss authorities, but by the private/international schools themselves or the group they belong, and comes after the authorisation.
The authorisation to open a private school or offer a private study-programme doesn't yet give proof of the quality checked through an accreditation procedure. I know it's quite complex but I thought I'd bring this precision.
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Old 04.02.2014, 22:05
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

I'll try to say this gently..... so, hm.... well... the language thing, you see.... how should I tell you.... well...... it's serious.

On paper in Basel it's C1 certificate in general and mother tongue in literary and humanity subjects. Real life is however somehow more complex... and let's say.... not in your favour. I am not saying you'll be discriminated, no no no, I am not saying it. But guess what I think...

If you are qualified English/math, however, this starts to be interesting because you'll have the lower language requirements, i.e. manageable high level foreign language speaker and some schools will probably find an English native attractive (others will see it as dysqualifying, but that's another debate). Math is always good, but language issue is still serious.
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Old 04.02.2014, 22:18
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Teachers don't just teach their subject. If there is an emegency in the school, they have to keep the kids safe- if a child falls sick or has an accident, the teacher has to be able to cope. If a child is really upset about some serious issue- you should be able to communicate with him/her- you should be able to exchange infor effectively about all sorts of issues with the Head and other staff, and Governors, and so on.
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Old 04.02.2014, 22:30
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Well, yes of course but Students only go to Swiss for care when needed anyway so for a foreigner, emergency management is enough. It might be different in the Romandie, I don't know. But no student talks about anything personal in high German... and very few teachers too, btw.

Anyway, finding a job as math/English in a Swiss gymnasium will be mission impossible. In sekundar, professional school perhaps. If at all.
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Old 05.02.2014, 19:19
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

hey All,

thanks for taking the time to explain your points of view.

this simpleton has spent the afternoon phoning around, and I have some news.

to proceed to become a teacher in the Zurich cantonal schools, I,would have to start from scratch and attain either a masters in the subject that i want to teach combined with a two,year teaching diploma. The problem: a masters in maths and then a teaching diploma,in Zurich would take around 5 years.

instead, I am going to learn German for a year, not do the masters but rather do the two year teaching diploma in German, allowing me to teach in international schools.

its not ideal,I,would still like to teach in the cantonal schools, but at least I can teach, in Zurich, in English, maths, at a secondary school level, and everyone is happy.

just give me three years.
tha ks,
oscar
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Old 05.02.2014, 19:21
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Re: Which universities offer master courses in Education?

Good on you and good luck. Not easy to have to do such a course in a foreign language (I know, been there, done that ...)
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