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Old 14.10.2011, 09:57
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Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

Education officials in Zurich have issued a new directive restricting access to international schools, effectively removing the alternative for children who live in Switzerland on a permanent basis.

Read the full article: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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Old 16.10.2011, 13:27
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International Schools Beware

Just read the article;
The Local - Zurich cuts access to international schools
http://www.thelocal.ch/1478/20111014/

Although I do not know the Education Counselor's motivation, I am personally glad to see it. The international schools hold too much power! They are amazing, if your child fits their desired profile for their registrants, but a nightmare, if not. As long as your child is young, and able, a switch to the local school in German, French or Italian, may be easy. But many teens find themselves expelled or denied entrance. Without the local language, or a diploma, these adolescents can fall into a catastrophic free-fall. They don't even have the requirements for the lowest level of job or apprenticeship. In the end, the initial interest of parents to "give" their children an advantage, becomes a HUGE disadvantage.

Best to remember; the international schools are businesses for profit, will promise you the moon, when their enrollment is down and will not hesitate to put your child on the street, even if you have paid them a small fortune over the years. The public schools have an obligation to society and your children. This is important information to consider, before buying into their system.
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Old 16.10.2011, 14:19
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Re: International Schools Beware

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Just read the article;
The Local - Zurich cuts access to international schools
http://www.thelocal.ch/1478/20111014/

Although I do not know the Education Counselor's motivation, I am personally glad to see it. The international schools hold too much power! They are amazing, if your child fits their desired profile for their registrants, but a nightmare, if not. As long as your child is young, and able, a switch to the local school in German, French or Italian, may be easy. But many teens find themselves expelled or denied entrance. Without the local language, or a diploma, these adolescents can fall into a catastrophic free-fall. They don't even have the requirements for the lowest level of job or apprenticeship. In the end, the initial interest of parents to "give" their children an advantage, becomes a HUGE disadvantage.

Best to remember; the international schools are businesses for profit, will promise you the moon, when their enrollment is down and will not hesitate to put your child on the street, even if you have paid them a small fortune over the years. The public schools have an obligation to society and your children. This is important information to consider, before buying into their system.
I just wish they (the public schools) would actually fulfil their obligation and not base all their decisions, re-structuring, closing of schools, firing of teachers on numbers that seem to be reported in incorrect statistics.

And that they would stick to a curriculum that has validity beyond one year.

It's really no surprise to me that private schools are booming.
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Old 16.10.2011, 14:30
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Re: International Schools Beware

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I just wish they (the public schools) would actually fulfil their obligation and not base all their decisions, re-structuring, closing of schools, firing of teachers on numbers that seem to be reported in incorrect statistics.

And that they would stick to a curriculum that has validity beyond one year.

It's really no surprise to me that private schools are booming.
They are also booming for one thing, though, and that is an influx of expats who leave after some years.

There is always enough arguments to criticize both public and international schools. Both systems, you accept some advantages and you have to let go of some dreams.

I am a huge advocate of public schooling here, yet that article sounds fishy, too. If say 60-70% graduates move back to their home lands, plus some carry on abroad, that small percentage that is equipped with good level schooling, but incompatible with the local system, they have to go through the same process as all of us who move here and have to patch up in order to be compatible with the system. It would be interesting having the stats about local/international graduates, where they continue, what degree, if hey manage to find apprentisage, etc. Also, failure is a relative term. There are local kids after local schools that also have to change career completely, despite having finished some apprentisage and having the license, etc.
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Old 16.10.2011, 14:51
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Re: International Schools Beware

I'm not sure I understand why such a restriction is necessary. What about expats with much older children, e.g. mid-to-late teens, who may be on a long term contract but don't want to simply drop their kid into a local swiss school?

And does this include bi-lingual schools? What about the schools who offer before and after school care, i.e. tageschule, which makes it much easier for parents to work without hiring a full-time nanny?

One would think that expats paying local taxes for the school but sending their kid to a private school would be left harmless in the boon to the local school budget per child.
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Old 16.10.2011, 14:52
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Re: International Schools Beware

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I just wish they (the public schools) would actually fulfil their obligation and not base all their decisions, re-structuring, closing of schools, firing of teachers on numbers that seem to be reported in incorrect statistics.

And that they would stick to a curriculum that has validity beyond one year.

It's really no surprise to me that private schools are booming.
Actually the private schools have to respect the same curriculum. International schools are both private and follow another curriculum. (IB for example).
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Old 16.10.2011, 14:54
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

This is a tough one as I support international schools and believe all children should have access to a bilingual education - especially in our modern times when multilingualism is becoming the norm and necessary for future opportunities. And the earlier children are exposed to a foreign language, the easier.

But I think there needs to be some regulation here, but that's difficult since these are private institutions. I can see the nightmare resulting from Swiss children spending their formative years at such a school and then transitioning to the public system later on without a good grasp of the language. There's no predicting the future of Swiss or expat families so perhaps the state can have a list of international schools that meet public school requirements and offer those instead of banning altogether.
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Old 16.10.2011, 15:00
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Re: International Schools Beware

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I'm not sure I understand why such a restriction is necessary. What about expats with much older children, e.g. mid-to-late teens, who may be on a long term contract but don't want to simply drop their kid into a local swiss school?
As far as I understand from the much more informative article in the NZZ, those teens would not fall under the restriction.

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And does this include bi-lingual schools? What about the schools who offer before and after school care, i.e. tageschule, which makes it much easier for parents to work without hiring a full-time nanny?
No, only the four international schools.

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One would think that expats paying local taxes for the school but sending their kid to a private school would be left harmless in the boon to the local school budget per child.
As far as I can tell, this is not directed at expats. On the contrary, expats will probably find it easier to get a place for their kids wehn the arrive druing the school year.
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Old 16.10.2011, 15:02
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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This is a tough one as I support international schools and believe all children should have access to a bilingual education - especially in our modern times when multilingualism is becoming the norm and necessary for future opportunities. And the earlier children are exposed to a foreign language, the easier.
The billingual schools are not touched.
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Old 16.10.2011, 15:18
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Re: International Schools Beware

100% true and they are so damn expensive
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Old 16.10.2011, 15:52
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

This was somewhat discussed on another tread - maybe the mods can merge.

Admission of new students to international schools
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Old 17.10.2011, 15:53
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Re: International Schools Beware

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As far as I understand from the much more informative article in the NZZ, those teens would not fall under the restriction.
Found the NZZ article! Here it is if anyone else wants to have a look:
http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/hinter....12949168.html

According to them (I'll just hit the highlights) this is a return to something like the pre-1998 state of affairs, when the five non-German-speaking schools in the canton were only allowed to take children whose parents had worked abroad.

The new rule is said to be that children resident in canton Zürich may attend international schools (= non-German-speaking AND not following the cantonal curriculum) only if one of the following applies:
(1) parents live only temporarily in the canton, OR
(2) parents live in the canton but can 'represent convincingly' that they intend to move to a non-German-speaking country
(3) the children are completing a school track (Schullaufbahn) begun in a non-German-speaking canton or country.

Bilingual schools, and private schools adhering to the cantonal curriculum, would not be affected. New expats arriving with already-school-age children would not be affected. Children already studying in international schools would not be affected.

The target is local parents who are placing their kids in international schools for the language immersion, or the IB diploma, or the networking with expat kids, or whyever they do it (I'm not too sure.) SIS Zürich and the International School of Winterthur were name-checked as having serious concentrations of these 'not internationally mobile' parents.
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Old 17.10.2011, 15:57
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Re: International Schools Beware

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Actually the private schools have to respect the same curriculum. International schools are both private and follow another curriculum. (IB for example).
Exactly, and there are plenty of private schools out there, so portraying International Schools as the only alternative to the state system is being a bit over-simplistic.
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Old 17.10.2011, 16:05
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Re: International Schools Beware

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I'm not sure I understand why such a restriction is necessary. What about expats with much older children, e.g. mid-to-late teens, who may be on a long term contract but don't want to simply drop their kid into a local swiss school?

And does this include bi-lingual schools? What about the schools who offer before and after school care, i.e. tageschule, which makes it much easier for parents to work without hiring a full-time nanny?

One would think that expats paying local taxes for the school but sending their kid to a private school would be left harmless in the boon to the local school budget per child.
Sometimes kids go to International Schools for all the wrong reasons.

An ex boss of mine initially came to CH on a temporary placement, and the company picked up the bill for putting his three kids into Intenational School. That was of course a very comfortable situation for him financially. Gradually, it became clear that his placement was going to be permanent and that he wasn't going home at all. He managed to keep his children in that school though because he saw they were happy there and he didn't want to subject them to the shock of transferring them to a state school system. So basically despite having lived most of their lives in CH they couldn't manage more than very basic German which meant they couldn't really be independent but were always realiant on people doing stuff for them. HR threatened him several times and said they would stop the payments and advised him to transfer the kids but he refused and used his old-boy connections to make sure the money continued to flow. Finally, once out of school, they fell right through the system and have been unable to get an apprenticeship or university placement and have been living off Dad's charity since. Personally I blame the school for that because they could have seen it coming but obviouisly preferred to keep them as milk cows rather than to nudge them in a direction that would have benefitted them. All three kids were autistic unfortunately and should really have been in an environment specialised in that and able to make the most of their potential.
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Old 17.10.2011, 17:39
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

I don't get, I would have assumed the international schools teach in English but also teach the native language? I have friends who attended ISs in countries like Sweden, Denmark, and Germany and they're all perfectly fluent in their native languages, plus English, plus usually one or two other languages.
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Old 18.10.2011, 09:40
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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I don't get, I would have assumed the international schools teach in English but also teach the native language? I have friends who attended ISs in countries like Sweden, Denmark, and Germany and they're all perfectly fluent in their native languages, plus English, plus usually one or two other languages.
Teach it as a class, sure. They don't teach other classes through the medium of the local language though, so kids miss out huge swathes of subject vocabulary.

And while their Swiss German will be just fine (you're talking about native Swiss kids who go to IS, right?) they won't be very good at writing correctly in Standard German, since most of the German classes they take will be targeted to international kids, much too basic a level for native speakers.
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Old 18.10.2011, 09:52
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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Teach it as a class, sure. They don't teach other classes through the medium of the local language though, so kids miss out huge swathes of subject vocabulary.

And while their Swiss German will be just fine (you're talking about native Swiss kids who go to IS, right?) they won't be very good at writing correctly in Standard German, since most of the German classes they take will be targeted to international kids, much too basic a level for native speakers.
I personally am not the biggest fan of the international schools probably because I can't afford them, but also, the kids friends are spread out all over the Canton rather than down the street, and this makes play dates, etc. more difficult.

That being said, my German husband went to an international school growing up in Germany as of 1st grade and he has no problems with his native language, and is of course, like a native speaker in English as well. 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
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Old 18.10.2011, 10:01
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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I don't get, I would have assumed the international schools teach in English but also teach the native language? I have friends who attended ISs in countries like Sweden, Denmark, and Germany and they're all perfectly fluent in their native languages, plus English, plus usually one or two other languages.
They teach it, as in, it's on the curriculum. But with many of the pupils just being there for short stints of maybe two years or less, and there being a continuous intake of kids with no or only very basic language skills who will hold the class back, the language teaching is not going to be up to scratch. Also, Intenational Schools have a "community" philosphy, as in kids and their parents being encouraged to engage in community activities outside of tuition hours. Kids hang around with other kids from the same school and there is little exposure to local culture and language, which would be very beneficial to actually learn it.
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Old 18.10.2011, 10:09
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

I don’t have children but I always heard that international schools usually offer a more flexible (and long) programmes at the school, than the 9-12AM Swiss schools…
This could be a problem for both working parents, even if they want to educate their children in Swiss language…
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Old 18.10.2011, 10:44
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

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most of the German classes they take will be targeted to international kids, much too basic a level for native speakers.
Native speakers are in a distinct class called language A. The fact that it is the only class taught as mother tongue does make a difference, though. There is nevertheless nothing in the way for succeeding well a bilingual diploma with two literature courses. Or students crash, that's also possible.
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