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Old 30.12.2011, 20:22
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education in switzerland

what do you think about the education system in switzerland?

in my opinion many people especially foreigners are disadvantaged here due to the selection system (kantonschule, sekundarschule and realschule). admission to universities are much easier in other countries such as USA,UK,Canada,France, etc..which creates equal opportunities for everyone.
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Old 30.12.2011, 20:31
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Re: education in switzerland

The education is set up to give every person a chance. I love the idea of apprenticeships. I think we have enough college graduates out in the world.
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Old 30.12.2011, 20:33
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Re: education in switzerland

I'm looking forward to this thread. In education, people tend to stick to what they know. You post, f.ex., implies that University is a right everybody is entitled to given equality chances. Fine, I don't mind. But culturally and politically speaking, this idea is just not Swiss. It's not German either. Top of the top of irony: in France, university is second choice. My favorite: UK red bricks university used to be not-universities, it's all in the name.

There are so many right answers to all this. Any wrong answers? Maybe a few, but not as many as one usually think.


P.S. Try being a good student in a Danish school if you don't speak Danish. Good luck. Works with any language in any country with any school system, at any given time of history.
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Old 30.12.2011, 20:34
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Re: education in switzerland

Yes... and no- a bit (!) over simplified. You'd be very naive to believe kids in the US and UK have equal chances

But yes, the Swiss system means that it is very difficult for children older than 10 who do not speak the local language, to choose academic options.
I've explained the difference between the UK system of tutor group and setting system for all the more academic subjects, versus the 'class as a group at more or less the same level' here. And of course the huge difference at As/A level where students in the UK Swiss (and European) system of continuing all subjects. We currently have so many friends and relatives with Graduate adult children who have studied for wonderful subjects and now have hit reality- and that those qualifications lead to little.

Faltrad some of the UK red brick universities are indeed excellent and actually much better than some of the 'mellow stone' ones- which have tended to remain very traditional and not always moved in a positive way with the times. One of my daughters went to Aston, and did extremely well out of it. Re the need to speak the local language to succeed - there is a major difference in the UK and that is that the number of subjects is VERY limited in Year 12 and 13 (4 for As and only 3 for A'Levels). At my school we had immigrant students arriving in their late teens without any English and could still do very well by choosing subjects carefully (for instance maths, physics and chemistry or It, or Art, PE and Music and Design, something that would be totally impossible here, or in any other European country. It has advantages and disadvantages, and winners and losers. I don't think it would be fair to ask the Swiss to change their basic system to suit the special needs of expat or immigrant children, or would it?

Real, welcome to the Forum btw. How about a quick introduction. What is your experience of Swiss education?

(I was state school educated in CH and then taught in UK state secondary/6th Form schools for many many years until recently, for info).

Last edited by Odile; 30.12.2011 at 21:27.
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Old 30.12.2011, 21:48
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Re: education in switzerland

swiss system focus lot at the practice part ,

have any one idea about the
International University of Switzerland in Zurich ? what about the ranking of this univesity ? any student there at the forum ?
sometimes i think i will start again from there ))
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Old 30.12.2011, 21:57
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Re: education in switzerland

thank you very much. well i've been here for 12 years and i originally come from Africa. when i came here i started 6th grade as a child and had to learn the german language quickly in order to participate in class. so i did and went to secondary school and after that enrolled in a ''merchant - kaufmann'' apprenticeship programm for 3 years. coming from an english speaking country i've realized the german language has had a negative impact on my english (as you can tell) ;-) and almost all of my friends i grew up with have already been to university or about to graduate whilst i'm here stuck with just a KV Certificate which is not enough to take you to university or fachhochschule just because i was graded or classified as a ''Sekundarschüler - apprenticeship'' and not a ''Kantonschüler - university''. it's even worse for ''Realschüler'' that's the reason why i think the country has a lot to improve on in terms of education. as far as other countries are concerned most of the students go to primary school, do their A-Levels and then go straight away to university and that doesn't happen here.
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Old 30.12.2011, 22:13
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Re: education in switzerland

Thanks for your intro so it is easier to understand how you formed your opinion. Actually you'll find that most European countries have a similar system to CH, and very different to the UK A'Level system which only exists in the UK (NOT Scotland) and some ex UK colonies. The narrow A'Level system of 4 subjects for Year 12 (age approx 16/17) and then 3 only for Year 13 (17/18) is very rare in the rest of the world. One reason why immigrant children who are very bright can do very well in the UK, but not in most of the rest of the world. (as said above either in Sciences or the Arts). But it is a very narrow system- with many pros and cons. I have experience of both, and the UK system would have suited me much better- but it does not make it a 'better or fairer' system, just very different, with losers and winners. It is true that it is very difficult for a teenager without local language to succeed academically in CH or most European countries, I agree. Having to study all subjects, including the local language post 16 requires a level difficult to attain unless a child has been to primary school here and fully immersed- especially in written skills, when writing formal essays and studying texts in an academic way is required.
It must be awful to be pushed into vocational apprenticeship because you haven't got the necessary language skills to go the academic route. However, the strong and respected apprenticeship system here is wonderful for those it suits. I'd much rather my child was a happy and fulfilled plumber or carpenter, than a Graduate in some useless Mickey Mouse Degree. Horses for courses- but sadly no system suits everybody.

At the end of the day - there is no point discussing this for you as such. What are you going to do about the situation? Complain and be negative about the past, or find ways forwards. I'd choose the latter every time. Any suggestions from members on how to progress positively with this situation. Real, would you mind telling us which trade you apprenticed in. Have you discussed with your employers or the RAV, etc, how you can continue training or re-train, to find a way to start climbing the ladder? In the UK, if you have one of those Mickey Mouse Degrees, it is very difficult at the moment. I am almost sure you are better to progress starting with a solid apprenticeship. Bonne chance.

Last edited by Odile; 30.12.2011 at 22:26.
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Old 30.12.2011, 22:37
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Re: education in switzerland

I was a primary school teacher in the UK (Foundation and Key Stage 1). I haven't any personal experience of the Swiss system, but I like what I've heard about it... because it seems to me that a child doesn't have to be 'academic' to succeed in the system.

In the UK there's so much emphasis on academic skills, from the word go. Here it seems the emphasis is more on developing social and communication skills initially, and then the more formal learning starts later, whereas in the UK the current system is a mess of 'learning through play' philosophy tagged on to an assessment system which is cumbersome and places more emphasis on more academic skills (don't get me started on having to tick 117 boxes for each 5 year old child in a class of 30, each box having to be backed up with 3 pieces of evidence, 80% of which had to be 'child initiated'... but most of the boxes not being something a child will 'spontaneously' do).

Further up the educational tree, there is little alternative provision in the UK for the children who struggle with academic life. The goal is for 50% of young people to go to university. But all that does is lead to qualifications being devalued, and those who don't get to university being seen as 'failures'.

Here, by contrast, it seems that those who have an academic bent go to university, those who do not are encouraged into other pathways which are still valued. Isn't that better?

I also really like the flexibility that there is here for children to repeat (and skip, I think) a year. Having taught so many children in Year One who myself and all my colleagues knew would have benefited so much from some extra time in Foundation... and also having fought in vain to get a very bright child accepted as a full time pupil in Foundation a term early... I can see the benefits so clearly.

I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone, perhaps it didn't for the OP. But if I ever have children... I think I'd rather they went to school here than in the UK.
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Old 30.12.2011, 22:43
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Re: education in switzerland

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admission to universities are much easier in other countries such as USA,UK,Canada,France, etc..which creates equal opportunities for everyone.
No, it dilutes the meaning of universities.

Tom
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Old 30.12.2011, 22:46
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Re: education in switzerland

Agreed. However the problems occur at a later stage, not primary, with most ex-pat/immigrant children. If they have a chance to go to primary school and acquire the language in all 4 skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) then there is no problem generally. Serious problems occur when 'academic' children are pushed into vocational streams because they have not acquired the level required in the local language to cope with a wide range of academic subjects (unlike the narrow system of the UK)- so basically for late arrivals to CH. If children start at early primary levels, and parents realise acquisition of local language is paramount (even if it has to be at the cost of native language- it is much easier to repeat a year if one returns home, than switch from vocational to academic streams here). I know I am likely to be shot down, but his is essential if there is a chance the family might stay during the secondary phase.
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Old 30.12.2011, 22:46
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Re: education in switzerland

The school system here is designed to provide workers to the country in all levels, that is why they get split at such young ages.. street workers laborers, middle class workers and higher educated workers.. there was a long report done by an University on this a few years ago. The system sucks and doesn't allow for slow learners that finally click and suceed... after an apprentiship they are too old to go on to a higher education and get trapped as a worker, also in the work its hard to move up the ladder.. they are forever stuck..
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:00
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Re: education in switzerland

I can see what you mean. But honestly, a bright spark will find a way to climb that ladder and not get 'stuck'. By getting a Mastership in their trade and opening their own business, then go sideways into other kind of managements, etc. Bright and imaginative people rarely get stuck, even here. Too simple to keep blaming the system.
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:05
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Re: education in switzerland

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The system sucks and doesn't allow for slow learners that finally click and suceed... after an apprentiship they are too old to go on to a higher education and get trapped as a worker, also in the work its hard to move up the ladder.. they are forever stuck..
Not true, I know and have worked with several brilliant engineers who started as apprentices here (and went on to get HTL degrees), about the same number of brilliant engineers I have known and worked with who are the product of the ETH or equivalent US or European institutions (most are crap).

Tom
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:05
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Re: education in switzerland

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UK red bricks university used to be not-universities, it's all in the name.
Did you mean the ex-polys? Or were you referring back even further? If we go back far enough there weren't any unis, so it is all a matter of interpretation.

I work in a school, and we do prepare a few students every year for the Swiss universities. My understanding was that it is relatively easy to get into a Swiss university, but pretty difficult to stay in one, as the exams are quite challenging.

I may be wrong though.
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:16
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Re: education in switzerland

i agree very much with sliced. like he says the children are classified too early into the 3 main groups (first class - Kantonschule, second class - Sekundarschule, low class - Realschule) and that puts them under so much pressure to decide. i've been there. so if most of you agree with the education system in switzerland why hasn't it produced more great men and women like USA or Britian? we don't hear of any swiss coming up with new ideas or inventions?? in my opinion they can't compete at an international level when they claim to have one of the best educational systems in the world.
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:33
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Re: education in switzerland

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1445176 so if most of you agree with the education system in switzerland why hasn't it produced more great men and women like USA or Britian? we don't hear of any swiss coming up with new ideas or inventions?? in my opinion they can't compete at an international level when they claim to have one of the best educational systems in the world.
If you take the size of Switzerland into acount, then Switzerland has actually produeced a fair amount of great people. Further Swiss people have the "disadvantage" of not living in the English speaking world. Thus they are less likely to be known in the (English speaking) world, then say an American with equal merits.

Last edited by Laertes; 30.12.2011 at 23:38. Reason: fixing quote
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:40
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Re: education in switzerland

What "great" people are you talking about?

KV students can do the berufsmatura and then go on to get a university degree.
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:41
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Re: education in switzerland

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If you take the size of Switzerland into acount, then Switzerland has actually produeced a fair amount of great people. Further Swiss people have the "disadvantage" of not living in the English speaking world. Thus they are less likely to be known in the (English speaking) world, then say an American with equal merits.
can you please name a few?
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:44
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Re: education in switzerland

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What "great" people are you talking about?

KV students can do the berufsmatura and then go on to get a university degree.
olygirl. i know. i'm a kv stundent from Luzern with the certificate and doing BM II but trust me it'll only take you to a ''Fachhochschule'' and not a ''University'' if you know the difference between the 2 of them.
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Old 30.12.2011, 23:46
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Re: education in switzerland

What "great" people are you talking about?

KV students can do the berufsmatura and then go on to get a university degree.
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