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  #21  
Old 18.10.2011, 10:54
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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He then studied in England because at that time he would have had to spend an extra year getting his Abitur in Germany before going to German universities. He is a fan of the multicultural atmosphere of the international schools and the IB is a very high standard curriculum, I believe. Just my 2 cents, or rather, rappen
You contradict yourself - if the curriculum is so great, why did the universities not accept your husband without him retaking the abitur? The German Abitur and the Swiss Matura are easily accepted everywhere... but if you have some non-standard private school thing, the universities will check carefully if you fullfill the Abitur requirements. He probably didn't meet them. Nothing changed since then and it can still hit today some US kids if they decided to not have "enough" maths or languages or any other field in their courses at high school when they apply to a German university. Yes, I met some who had to do some "preperatory year" before they were allowed to study in Germany. In most cases was this indeed necessary.

It took a week when I got into Oberstufe till my Gymnasium computed what courses they offered from year 11 to 13 to make sure everyone had a schedule that matched the requirements of the "general" Abitur. I'd want every kid to make international experiences, but for the money spend on those institutions I think I'd rather send my kids to a local school and spend the same money on some great language courses abroad during the summer vacation, student exchanges like a year in the US and from the prices I have heard you have still enough cash left to send them to Harvard after their Swiss Matura. It's accepted there.
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  #22  
Old 18.10.2011, 15:03
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

First of all, the International system is academically way above the American one up to high school. So experiences with US high school students trying to get into German universities are just a different topic. Interesting and true what you say, but different.

From what I remember, the problem with the match International-German system is that some subjects from the IB system do not correspond to the German ones. Fair enough from the Germans to cut the line there. Academic level is yet again independent of the actual problem, even if I am not sure the IB course Business is worth anything by any standards.

Furthermore, one can not set aside the politics in the matter. There is no reason why a public system would not impose its standards to the private ones rather the other way around. It takes some time for IB to adapt to all kind of different public systems. Of course, they can't adapt perfectly to all public systems, so they set their priorities (UK and US) and do their best with the rest, even if it does not fit well.

There are specific cultural assets that can't be cattered for internationally even by the best will. I remember only a couple of example I am sure about, but there are surely more: From a French perspective, everybody must have philosophy, the level of Maths in Russia and Corea is far above the rest of the world, Italians insist on latin etc.

The recognition of European Matura/Abitur/Alevels is a political decision and nobody looked carefully into the details of each countrie's curriculum otherwise, nobody would have recognized anything. That counts for a huge part of the story. Now related to a private standard, you can imagine that the European countries don't treat IB as a country but just as the private organisation it is. Not the same treatment, politically.
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Old 19.10.2011, 13:32
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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You contradict yourself - if the curriculum is so great, why did the universities not accept your husband without him retaking the abitur? The German Abitur and the Swiss Matura are easily accepted everywhere... but if you have some non-standard private school thing, the universities will check carefully if you fullfill the Abitur requirements. He probably didn't meet them.
Because that was the way it was in 1988 when my husband graduated...and in 1989 when his brother did. The older brother opted to stay in Germany and do the abitur route. When my husband joined our research group as a postdoc, he was only 25 years old - already completed his PhD. Don't think that would have been possible in the German system. Not saying that is essential, but in the German system, it wasn't uncommon for people to be in their mid-30s before finishing their PhD.

My husband certainly had enough math and science to meet the Abitur - I don't know why they didn't accept it then, but they didn't.

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Nothing changed since then and it can still hit today some US kids if they decided to not have "enough" maths or languages or any other field in their courses at high school when they apply to a German university.
since when?


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Yes, I met some who had to do some "preperatory year" before they were allowed to study in Germany. In most cases was this indeed necessary.
Believe me, there are enough in the US who don't graduate with all the required math or science and have to take these once at college/university.



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I have heard you have still enough cash left to send them to Harvard after their Swiss Matura. It's accepted there.
you might have enough cash left over, but will they get in
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  #24  
Old 19.10.2011, 13:40
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

By the way, I checked for you: The IB is now recognized in Germany as equal to Abitur if certains subject combinations are respected. Even the French now accept it too with their own restrictions. A Student just have to be careful to put up the subjects together according to the future country of choice. But it's the same with entry requirements in UK universities, they have their own wish list too. Wish list becoming must have list from what I've heard.
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Old 19.10.2011, 15:44
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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By the way, I checked for you: The IB is now recognized in Germany as equal to Abitur if certains subject combinations are respected.
Erm... that was my point, wasn't it? An US high school diploma is also accepted if the subjects are the right ones and you didn't graduate based on sports and music.
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Old 22.10.2011, 11:48
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

It is official.

Zürich bans local from International Schools

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The ruling from the canton’s education minister Regine Aeppli has added another chapter to the ongoing debate about preserving local culture and language in the face of an ever increasing flood of foreign workers.

Zurich has effectively overruled a 1998 decision to allow anyone to attend international schools without having to give justification.
Source
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  #27  
Old 22.10.2011, 11:55
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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Erm... that was my point, wasn't it? An US high school diploma is also accepted if the subjects are the right ones and you didn't graduate based on sports and music.
There was a time, the US high schoolers needed one year university before they were allowed entering a German university. At least when I was in Göttingen. Is this rule overruled by another rule? I have no info about this since mid-90ies, sorry. But my IB infos are from last week on the phone with a colleague.
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Old 22.10.2011, 12:12
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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There was a time, the US high schoolers needed one year university before they were allowed entering a German university. At least when I was in Göttingen. Is this rule overruled by another rule? I have no info about this since mid-90ies, sorry. But my IB infos are from last week on the phone with a colleague.
In Germany are universities very free to make up their own rules. Back then as much as today. They have very few strict laws to follow - for example do they have to accept an Abitur, no matter from which part of Germany it is from (some claim that the education standards vary massively.)
First of all is the education system widely a Bundesland - "cantonal" for the Swiss - matter, so there are huge differences between Hamburg an Munich and second do universities have far fetching rights to decide on science and education on their own.
There is a federal services, the DAAD, that can "translate" a foreign education to the German system. If they say that your diploma is good I believe all universities will follow (same for your Bachelor if you want to make a masters). On the reverse does a rejection from them not necessarily mean that you cannot study in Germany.
Rule of thumb:
a) The Southern states are more strict than the North
b) Research universities will be more picky than polytechnics/ applied universities ("Fachhochschulen")
c) Some schools and subjects are constantly "overbooked", others have a hard time to fill the classrooms. Guess who is more flexible to let you in...

Especially Fachhochschulen are typically more flexible as you do not need an Abitur to study there - you can be allowed into a course based on 16 years of school and a matching apprenticeship or even if you did not finish Gymnasium (I am sure this has all changed since I was at school, but I went for 13 years till the Abitur - if I had dropped out after 12 with a record that would not have forced me to repeat a class, I could have applied for a FH)...

So if you do have a foreign high school diploma and one school says that you do not have enough maths in it to consider it on the same level as an Abitur they are probably right - but you could still be accepted by some other school that thinks that maths is not that important for the course you chose (especially if the school is desperate for some more students to keep their funding up and running...).
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  #29  
Old 22.10.2011, 12:39
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

OK, the DAAD website explains in German the conditions.

For Zurich, I find it generally interesting to get behind the obvious debate about freedom of choice: What makes the International schools so attractive to local famillies and were there something they were fleeing from in cantonal school ?

In Basel, I've seen famillies paying two or three years middle school just so that the children speak very good english and then come back to the cantonal system because they propably want a best fit to local university or have a set plan for professional education the Swiss way.
But I have also seen something less of a good news: students not accepted in Gymnasium and failing the entry requirements go international when parents can aford it in order to follow a gymnasium path and force their way to university. I don´t know if it works well, and frankly I wish it does, but seen from a cantonal perspective, it is a way around the education system undermining the alternative to gymnasium. In other words, some local politicians see a threat : on one hand, the three paths system and on the other hand, the one size fits all approach of IB. Local parents apparently all wanting their kiddies in gymnasium, they don't accept the local system. Instead of reforming or informing or dealing with their own voters' idea about education, the cantonal authorities targuet the international system.

It's like treating the symptom rather than the cause of an illness.
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  #30  
Old 24.10.2011, 14:33
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

would be interesting if every ex-pat family in the canton stopped by to register their children for local Swiss schools. just a thought.
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Old 24.10.2011, 14:40
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

Foreigners have more choices and rights compared to locals!
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Old 24.10.2011, 17:04
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

Black Sheep Rule!

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Foreigners have more choices and rights compared to locals!
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  #33  
Old 24.10.2011, 18:40
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

The international schools are apparently putting their heads together to come up with a compromise that Zurich's education department will accept, so keep your eyes peeled for more news on that. They're having a meeting this week I believe.
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Old 24.10.2011, 21:27
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

So what is a kid who's been going to US schools all his life supposed to do if suddenly one of his parents gets a chance to work in Zurich, and he hasn't learned any German? Was he supposed to make it his life's ambition to learn German, just so he could attend Swiss school one day? What does he do now? Remain in his crappy US public school because the cantonal government has decided he doesn't "deserve" a good school like ZIS, let alone an IB or a European university education in which he may or may not be interested?

Could we focus on someone besides the overachievers (talking about the parents) and stage moms and dads? Regular people like me who, if they are doing their duty as parents, ensure the kid gets a high-school diploma that actually means something? Who choose ZIS because of the kind of education it offers on its own, never mind the higher education to which it supposedly offers a fast track? Could it be that the school actually is aware of the value of the education it confers, rather than simply wanting to hold on to its paying customers?

Not to mention the fact that instruction at the international schools is in my son's native tongue. His strength in English creative writing will surely thrive in a Swiss school, won't it? Even if instruction in another language had better currency, I would still choose native English instruction for him (just not in a US public school ).

There is an unspoken assumption in this thread that all you need to do is plug your child in to the right socket and he/she will emerge ready to tackle an English-language education anywhere in the world. Not so ... if the non-native English I've come across here in Switzerland is any indication, it will take a lot more than enrollment at an international high school to get a child an education at one of those prestigious universities. And note that I say "education," not "degree." Come on. There's more involved here than a product with a higher price. Every parent needs to find the way that suits his or her child best - rather than throwing money at the child and hoping some of it sticks. And sometimes that way is an international school.
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  #35  
Old 24.10.2011, 22:19
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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So what is a kid who's been going to US schools all his life supposed to do if suddenly one of his parents gets a chance to work in Zurich, and he hasn't learned any German? Was he supposed to make it his life's ambition to learn German, just so he could attend Swiss school one day? What does he do now? Remain in his crappy US public school because the cantonal government has decided he doesn't "deserve" a good school like ZIS, let alone an IB or a European university education in which he may or may not be interested?

Could we focus on someone besides the overachievers (talking about the parents) and stage moms and dads? Regular people like me who, if they are doing their duty as parents, ensure the kid gets a high-school diploma that actually means something? Who choose ZIS because of the kind of education it offers on its own, never mind the higher education to which it supposedly offers a fast track? Could it be that the school actually is aware of the value of the education it confers, rather than simply wanting to hold on to its paying customers?

Not to mention the fact that instruction at the international schools is in my son's native tongue. His strength in English creative writing will surely thrive in a Swiss school, won't it? Even if instruction in another language had better currency, I would still choose native English instruction for him (just not in a US public school ).

There is an unspoken assumption in this thread that all you need to do is plug your child in to the right socket and he/she will emerge ready to tackle an English-language education anywhere in the world. Not so ... if the non-native English I've come across here in Switzerland is any indication, it will take a lot more than enrollment at an international high school to get a child an education at one of those prestigious universities. And note that I say "education," not "degree." Come on. There's more involved here than a product with a higher price. Every parent needs to find the way that suits his or her child best - rather than throwing money at the child and hoping some of it sticks. And sometimes that way is an international school.

Reading the whole thread might be a usefull starting point. The canton of Zürich does NOT restrict access to international schools in such cases, the title is somewhat misleading.
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  #36  
Old 24.10.2011, 22:20
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

Hi All:
Just my 2 cents:
My two kids are going to public school, they speak german, swiss-german and the older one, english and french... We are VERY satisfied with the contents (my wife is Maths teacher)....and by the way we are saving a fortune by not sending them to private schools.
Best regards,
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Old 24.10.2011, 22:34
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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So what is a kid who's been going to US schools all his life supposed to do if suddenly one of his parents gets a chance to work in Zurich, and he hasn't learned any German? Was he supposed to make it his life's ambition to learn German, just so he could attend Swiss school one day? What does he do now? Remain in his crappy US public school because the cantonal government has decided he doesn't "deserve" a good school like ZIS, let alone an IB or a European university education in which he may or may not be interested?
Steady on! The answer is that the new law wouldn't apply to this kid, as he is completing a Schullaufbahn (school track/program/career) begun elsewhere.

The only two groups affected by this will be Swiss parents who want to send their kids to international schools, and expats moving here with younger (pre-school-age) children. It's clearly targeted at the former and not the latter. Nobody knows yet exactly what sort of documentation will be required to 'prove' that you aren't in Switzerland permanently, but the fact there is such an exemption at all shows that this is a measure aimed at Swiss parents, not expats.


Again, under the new law as it now stands (as others have said, further compromises may be in the offing):
  • Expats whose children have already been in school elsewhere will be able to choose between local and international schools, as always.
  • Expats whose children are just beginning school will still have a choice, but with some extra hassle (they will have to argue that they don't intend to stay in Switzerland permanently.)
  • Swiss parents won't get a choice.
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Old 27.10.2011, 11:46
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

Apparently the reason that international schools are appealing to local Swiss families is not so much the quality of the education, but the extra hours of child care they offer.

Children stay at school for lunch and can attend after school clubs.

Much easier for working mothers to fit their careers around.
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Old 26.03.2012, 12:45
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

Swissinfo EN

Expatriate pupils, who could be banned from international schools by new canton Zurich rules, are being targeted by schools teaching both Swiss and foreign curricula.
Such bilingual establishments could provide the answer for many foreign workers who will soon be forced to educate their children in the local school system in Zurich. Canton Zurich has insisted on the measure to force better integration of the foreign population.

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In September of last year, the canton’s education department laid out the new directives that will apply from the next school year, starting in August 2012.
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Foreign workers are only interested in international schools, warned ZFS’s Peter Wright. “There is little to no interest in supporting local schools,” he told swissinfo.ch.
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“Many expats in Switzerland live in a bubble where English is the only language,” school founder and director Sonya Maechler-Dent told swissinfo.ch. “Our pupils will have exposure to Swiss-German so that they have the opportunity of integrating into the local community and economy.”
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Old 26.03.2012, 18:57
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

To add to the comments about language, here's my observations from going to an IB school, for 13 years.

1) The local language can easily be taken very unseriously. There were kids in my class who knew they'd never, ever, need to speak Danish again. I don't think I saw anyone who got to a conversational level. People who spoke the local language did so because they knew people who did or had an alternative environment. For instance I had local friends and hung around my parents' business, so I kept my skills up. The teachers were still competent and conscientious, though. You'd still learn what you needed to know, and questions were easily answered (grammar, history, etc).

2) The IB has an A and a B language. The A language is a literature course. If you're not fluent, don't do it. The B language is a language course (grammar, reading). If you happen to speak two languages fluently, you can get a free 7 points by doing the B course. (Amazingly, some fluent speakers didn't! Don't ask me why.) But basically if you are fluent in two languages, that reduces your IB course to a 5 course diploma. Back in the day they even allowed people to take one of the B exams a year early.

If you're wondering what those kids in Danish class would do for language B, they'd do a traditional third language, eg French or German. (Ie take the compulsory Danish course until you got to the IB years and then dump it for French/German.)
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