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Old 24.03.2007, 11:59
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Basel goes its own way with the early support of pupils

Basel-Stadt won’t implement a pilot trial at an elementary school. Kids are to be tested for potential deficits one year before they start school instead.

In contrast to most other cantons, Basel-Stadt will not run any pilot trials to merge Kindergarten and elementary school into a primary level. Out of consideration for other reform plans the government announced yesterday that it would do without the pilot trial Primary Level – heatedly disputed mainly by teachers. The canton saves CHF 8 million, which the pilot trial Primary Level, to be terminated by 2014, would have cost.

The School Synod, which had vehemently opposed a trial for flexible school entry, reacted to this abnegation decision «with relief». The concerns of the teachers directly involved have been taken seriously, it said in a comment of the teachers’ associations, signed by Verena Soldati. The resources thus being released now have to «be used for genuine early support, which begins even before Kindergarten ».

Medical exam

With this demand, which is also being support by the Education Union, the Synod is breaking down open doors at the Department of Education. After his surrender of the primary level, department head Christoph Eymann is determined to tackle at the pre-school level the problem of wide learning discrepancies when kids start school.

For this purpose he envisions to start school entry procedures much earlier than at present. Already one year before a kid starts kindergarten parents are to be obliged to register their kids with the school administration in charge. Connected to the registration would be a medical exam to detect a kid’s potential health and language issues.

If necessary, any deficits are to be compensated with support measures even before kids enter Kindergarten. A lack of knowledge of the German language can be adequately compensated with a maximum of 120 pre-school lessons, Eymann is convinced.

After the Primary Level Option has been put on ice for the time being, Christoph Eymann now wants to work forcefully towards a change of the school law, which is necessary for his alternative option of early support. To improve acceptance among parents, the Department of Education would also like to involve independently working pediatricians into early detection of children’s deficits.

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