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Old 29.09.2018, 12:56
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Experiences with public schools in Basel?

Hi,

I am new here.
Yes, Iíve tried to peruse the previous threads on posts about public schools in Basel. Many of them were posts that were dates from 5-10 years back.

I wonder if anyone out here can give me insight on the 2018 Basel scene?

Does anyone have experience having their non-German-speaking kids join the public schools? My kids are between the ages of 8-13.

I am not interested in the private sector for the moment.
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Old 29.09.2018, 13:21
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

Hi, I have lot of teacher friends that teach in the Basel area, and have visited a few schools there. My impression is, that the schools are generally good and very multicultural. Some schools have a very high number of kids who do not have German as their mother tongue. This can have positive as well as negative effects. The positive being that the schools are well versed in helping kids learn the language and have strategies in place to make the transition as smooth as possible. The negative, that in some less affluent areas some of the kids do have a less stimulating home life which can have an effect on their attitude to learning. On the other hand Basel has one of the highest percentage of kids entering Gymnasium in the country, so they must be doing something right.
Basel is part of the Passepartout Cantons which teach French from Grade 3 and English from Grade 5. This could make the transition into French classes trickier for kids in the higher grades that have not had any French before, so they will have to catch up on both German and French!
My own kids were 10 and 12 when they entered the Swiss system (canton Berne). The first six months were definitely though for them, but they have succeeded in the system. My son (the older) is now in his 2nd year of an apprenticeship and loving it, my daughter is in Grade 9 and plans on attending Gymnasium next year.
One thing to consider is that for someone entering at 13, Gymnasium may not be in the cards, as the language level in German required is almost impossible to attain in that time. However, if you are open to apprenticeships, this is well doable and university entrance is still possible that way, just may take a little longer. The large majority of Swiss kids do apprenticeships and these are well respected.
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Old 29.09.2018, 14:02
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Thank you, Swisscanmom, for the concrete example and quick reply.
Maybe for my eldest I will have to spring for the sky high tuition at the private school, and then allow the other two kids to go to public school.

Did you learn German since your move?

What age is Gymnasium? Is that equivalent to high school?
Apprenticeship in a craft? Is that like a community college?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 30.09.2018 at 21:32. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 29.09.2018, 16:05
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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What age is Gymnasium? Is that equivalent to high school?
Apprenticeship in a craft? Is that like a community college?
secondary school in swiss german areas splits on 2 tracks. You reach gymnasium with the upper one, you go on studying purely theoretical (high school-style) until you get a matura and then you can go to a university.

Apprenticeship is when at the end of obligatory schooling, you find a job as an apprenticeship (these are paid) and then you do that job and go to a professional school at the same time.

After like 3 years you get a federal diploma saying you're a skilled worker for X job. The choice of job is important here. If you pick a good technical job, you can get a good wage and good working opportunities. Many people then do the extra year to get a professional matura (the total length is the same as gymnasium, you're done at about 19).
So you end up at the same age with a matura in your hand on both the professional and academical tracks, but the professional matura usually only allows you to go to universities of applied sciences. At these many people who did an apprenticeship in something technical get a bachelor's degree in the relevant engineering subject (at these schools you can also do 50% study 50% work so it's also good for people without family money behind them), and can then get well paid jobs as engineers, nurses and the like.

The good thing is that if you have a professional matura but decide you want to study philosophy, you can do an extra year of studying and get a normal matura. The same if you have a matura and want to go to a university of applied sciences (but in this case it's a year of practical work).

And if you have a bachelor's degree in engineering from a university of applied sciences, with an extra year to recover some credits, you can even get in at the master degree in ETHZ.

The key take-away here is that if the kid is smart and motivated, it isn't the end of the world if he can't get in gymnasium due to not having enough time to learn the language.
With a minimum of 1 extra year and some effort he can get anywhere that people who go to gymnasium can, but also with work experience in a skilled blue-collar profession on their CV (and a fall-back if they did decide to study philosophy, as long as they didn't do their apprenticeship in something equally weak on the job market like retail worker or painter).

There are secondary professional schools that aren't apprenticeships and award a professional matura, and there's a third kind of tertiary level school (also profession-oriented), but I don't think they're as relevant, in my canton of origin they're quite popular but tbh I have my doubts that these secondary schools worth any more than apprenticeships, while the tertiary school offers diplomas in weird stuff plus nursing (so there's a university of applied sciences, and then this one, both offering nursing degrees, it's dumb). He can think about this stuff later.

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Old 29.09.2018, 16:21
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

A long-term user of this Forum, Longbyt, kindly collected a whole lot of standard information about how the Swiss education system works. It's well worth having a wade through.
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...ol-system.html
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Old 29.09.2018, 17:01
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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Did you learn German since your move?
I already spoke it, as I am Swiss by birth, but my kids didn't, as we were living in Canada and our family language is English.

Most professions and trades are studied through apprenticeships here. So around age 15/16 after grade 9, most kids enter an apprenticeship in their chosen profession, (there are over 250 possible professions). Companies advertise open positions and kids can apply for them. From carpenter, through sales clerks, business admin, to interactive media designers, there is vast choice. Kids go to school 1-2 days per week and get trained at their work place 3-4 days/week. The get paid a small salary (from about 500-1500 chfs per month) which increases each year of their apprenticeship. The employer also pays their school fees and usually books. At the professional school all the kids learning the same profession in different companies are in one class. They also attend practical training 2 or 3 times a year which are organized through their professional association, this ensures that all students are trained in all the basics expected of their profession regardless of the company they work at. At the end of 3 or 4 years apprenticeship there is a federally recognized final exam. From there kids go on to either work in their profession or do addtional schooling/ applied universities, or even another apprenticeship, etc.
A minority (about 20%) of kids attend Gymnasium instead of an apprenticeship which is 100% schooling in general knowledge like high school, except that there is a lot less choice on subjects. Students have to study all subjects to an academic level. They finish with the Matura, which allows them to enter any university. So this is the direct route to university.
Personally, I think, the work experience they gather in an apprenticeship is extremely valuable.

There are some other schools like FMS, that are almost like Gymnasium but with a practical component. They prepare for professions like teaching, social work, nursing. So lots of choice. Kids get a lot of coaching in school from about grade 7 to figure out which way they want to go. One thing to keep in mind is, that the system is highly selective. Not everyone that wants to, gets to go to Gymnasium. You have to have the grades to prove it.
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Old 29.09.2018, 18:36
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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Thank you, Swisscanmom, for the concrete example and quick reply.
Maybe for my eldest I will have to spring for the sky high tuition at the private school, and then allow the other two kids to go to public school.

Did you learn German since your move?
Dont be an elitist -put your kids in the state schools
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Old 29.09.2018, 22:34
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

For the 13 year old, private school is likely to be the better option.

Don't be snobbish.
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Old 30.09.2018, 13:44
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

Thank you for the information, Murloc and Doropfiz. It is very helpful and I appreciate it.

Omtatsat and Notallthere, Iíve asked questions to learn about the current system. Calling me elitist or snobbish is unnecessary.
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Old 30.09.2018, 14:01
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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secondary school in swiss german areas splits on 2 tracks. You reach gymnasium with the upper one, you go on studying purely theoretical (high school-style) until you get a matura and then you can go to a university.

Apprenticeship is when at the end of obligatory schooling, you find a job as an apprenticeship (these are paid) and then you do that job and go to a professional school at the same time.

After like 3 years you get a federal diploma saying you're a skilled worker for X job. The choice of job is important here. If you pick a good technical job, you can get a good wage and good working opportunities. Many people then do the extra year to get a professional matura (the total length is the same as gymnasium, you're done at about 19).
So you end up at the same age with a matura in your hand on both the professional and academical tracks, but the professional matura usually only allows you to go to universities of applied sciences. At these many people who did an apprenticeship in something technical get a bachelor's degree in the relevant engineering subject (at these schools you can also do 50% study 50% work so it's also good for people without family money behind them), and can then get well paid jobs as engineers, nurses and the like.

The good thing is that if you have a professional matura but decide you want to study philosophy, you can do an extra year of studying and get a normal matura. The same if you have a matura and want to go to a university of applied sciences (but in this case it's a year of practical work).

And if you have a bachelor's degree in engineering from a university of applied sciences, with an extra year to recover some credits, you can even get in at the master degree in ETHZ.

The key take-away here is that if the kid is smart and motivated, it isn't the end of the world if he can't get in gymnasium due to not having enough time to learn the language.
With a minimum of 1 extra year and some effort he can get anywhere that people who go to gymnasium can, but also with work experience in a skilled blue-collar profession on their CV (and a fall-back if they did decide to study philosophy, as long as they didn't do their apprenticeship in something equally weak on the job market like retail worker or painter).

There are secondary professional schools that aren't apprenticeships and award a professional matura, and there's a third kind of tertiary level school (also profession-oriented), but I don't think they're as relevant, in my canton of origin they're quite popular but tbh I have my doubts that these secondary schools worth any more than apprenticeships, while the tertiary school offers diplomas in weird stuff plus nursing (so there's a university of applied sciences, and then this one, both offering nursing degrees, it's dumb). He can think about this stuff later.
Very nice post murloc!

Check my post here for an illustration if you like
https://www.englishforum.ch/2907062-post18.html

May I ask, why do think your 13 years old would need a private school?
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Old 30.09.2018, 15:39
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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Very nice post murloc!

Check my post here for an illustration if you like
https://www.englishforum.ch/2907062-post18.html

May I ask, why do think your 13 years old would need a private school?
Thank you, this is very useful information.

I would be happy to send my 13-yr-old to a public school but based on the previous post by Swisscanmom who had a 12-yr-old child who had difficulties with the new language then I was contemplating other alternatives. At this age, the school content is more demanding. Iíve also received feedback on other experiences with kids over the age of 10-11 with concerns about language being a major hindrance in school work.
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Old 30.09.2018, 22:57
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

Are you aware, Jackberg, that it is standard practice in Swiss schools to supply extra lessons for immigrating children, to help them learn the local language? They are not just dumped into the local class and expected to be able to swim. No, they are given help.

New chidlren from abroad start out in so-called "integration class" and the fourfold aim, there, is to
  • teach them the local language
  • enable them to continue learning in subjects they can already do, like maths, while learning the relevant vocabulary in the local language
  • help them to catch up in any subjects at which their level might be below the rest of their age-group, such as, for example, Swiss history and geography, and
  • give them some form of introduction to the way things work in Switzerland.

Things are different from canton to canton and municipality to municipality. In larger cities, Ingetration is a separate class. Later, in stages or at once, the child moves into the regular class. In smaller places, it is sometimes provided in tandem, so that the child is sometimes with the regular class right from the start, for example for sport or art, and sometimes in a separate Integration class. Sometimes, the Integration classes can continue, as an added extra, once the child is fully in the regular class.

The local children all know this, and there are children in the classes who've already been on the Integration route. The teachers know it, and it is altogether not an unusual thing. Therefore, when once the child moves into the regular class, the others are used to accommodating a new person.
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Old 30.09.2018, 23:01
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

Part of the question of whether or not learning the new language is a hindrance, or not, depends on the attitude of the parents.

If the parents are unwilling or resentful of having to learn a new language, this may negatively influence the children.

However, when parents are willing to do their best to learn the local language themselves, and when they enroll themselves in a course, and also work through the child's homework each day, too, and learn it all as fast as the child must, and when they demonstrate by their example in everyday interactions that they think it is a great opportunity in life, and interesting, to grapple with and succeed in speaking a new language, the children will benefit automatically.
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Old 01.10.2018, 08:57
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

I think you are right to have concerns about the 13 year old in a state school. Despite having the extra language classes it will be very tough to get up to the required level in German in the two years they will have before the end of obligatory schooling in Switzerland.
Depending on their level of motivation it could be possible but it certainly won’t be easy and will require a lot of hard work. It also depends on whether they plan on going on to university or if they are more practically minded and would prefer going down the apprenticeship route. Both will be difficult but the apprenticeship route may be slightly easier.
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Old 01.10.2018, 09:17
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

You need to know that Baselstadt and Baselland are in many ways to be considered two different countries in many aspect of life, includin education. A city school may well have a high number of non-Swiss kids. Binningen, in BL, while bordering BS does not.
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Thank you for the information, Murloc and Doropfiz. It is very helpful and I appreciate it.

Omtatsat and Notallthere, I’ve asked questions to learn about the current system. Calling me elitist or snobbish is unnecessary.
You misread. I was saying that Omtatstat was being snobbish for calling you elitist for suggesting that your 13 year old might do better going to a private school. You obviously missed this bit.
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For the 13 year old, private school is likely to be the better option.
If you search my recent postings for threads concerning education, you'll find the experience we had with our children as they grew up here.
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Old 01.10.2018, 09:21
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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You misread. I was saying that Omtatstat was being snobbish for calling you elitist for suggesting that your 13 year old might do better going to a private school.

You obviously missed this bit.
I thought that was what you meant and posted to that effect but then I re-read the OP and thought that maybe it was in response to her last sentence so I edited it.
I think that might have been what she interpreted it as too as you hadnít specifically quoted Omtatwatís post.
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Old 01.10.2018, 14:35
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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They are not just dumped into the local class and expected to be able to swim. No, they are given help.
Excellent information, thank you for your insight.
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Old 01.10.2018, 17:56
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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Thank you, this is very useful information.

I would be happy to send my 13-yr-old to a public school but based on the previous post by Swisscanmom who had a 12-yr-old child who had difficulties with the new language then I was contemplating other alternatives. At this age, the school content is more demanding. I’ve also received feedback on other experiences with kids over the age of 10-11 with concerns about language being a major hindrance in school work.
There are always exceptions to this "rule" or rather - predictions. It's just an anecdote and we may argue some kids are really smart or talented, but my first German language teacher here moved to CH when he was 13 (in the 7th grade)...he somehow got into gymnasium and went to study languages after that, so I think if the child is really motivated and academically gifted it is possible. You know, it's always "depends...". Think it through and make your decisions based on your child's abilities.
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Old 01.10.2018, 18:06
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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Thank you, this is very useful information.

I would be happy to send my 13-yr-old to a public school but based on the previous post by Swisscanmom who had a 12-yr-old child who had difficulties with the new language then I was contemplating other alternatives. At this age, the school content is more demanding. Iíve also received feedback on other experiences with kids over the age of 10-11 with concerns about language being a major hindrance in school work.
I'd agree with this, too. Seeing the volume of work the kids are doing at this age is one thing but if you are trying to cope with this as well as get up to speed in the local language, it's a big ask.

No doubt people have done it and done it successfully but you know your kids best and what they can cope with.

The wife of a friend of my husband is a DaZ (German as a second language) teacher and her rule of thumb is up to the age of 9, it's usually no problem to integrate a kid into school and learn the language at the same time. After 9 it becomes more problematic and the success rate varies.
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Old 01.10.2018, 18:44
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Re: Experiences with public schools in Basel?

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Hi,

I am new here.
Yes, Iíve tried to peruse the previous threads on posts about public schools in Basel. Many of them were posts that were dates from 5-10 years back.

I wonder if anyone out here can give me insight on the 2018 Basel scene?

Does anyone have experience having their non-German-speaking kids join the public schools? My kids are between the ages of 8-13.

I am not interested in the private sector for the moment.
It makes it alot harder for the child when neither of the parents speak German. Dont know if thats so in your case.If so then yes your children will need all the help they can get. But children learn very fast when they have too. Much faster than adults.
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