The Swiss School in Beijing – the first of its kind in China and first Swiss school abroad in more than three decades – has been officially recognised by the Swiss government.
“The school sees itself as a meeting point for Swiss and Chinese culture,” a Swiss government statementexternal link said on Friday.
Recognition will initially run until the end of 2020, which is the end of the of the school’s development phase, the statement added.
The stamp of approval means that the school will officially be the 18th Swiss school abroadexternal link, which are international schools promoting Swiss values. It will be able to carry the official logo of a Swiss school abroad.
It also means that the schools will be eligible for government subsidies for operating costs, like hiring Swiss teachers to work in Beijing, Fiona Wigger, in charge of schools abroad at the Federal Office of Culture, told swissinfo.ch.
Swiss staff are more expensive than local staff, so the government helps cover the extra costs. Swiss schools abroad also need to follow a Swiss curriculum and hold classes in a Swiss national language. In Beijing, this will be German, she said.
The official opening ceremony took place in October 2017. The institution is the first fully independent Swiss school abroad to open since 1981, since more recent openings have involved expanding existing schools.
Housed in the existing Western Academy Beijingexternal link, the school is first offering kindergarten as well as Primary 1 and 2 classes for children aged six to eight. The idea is to expand the institution to other age groups and reach 150 pupils.
The institution is under the patronage of the canton of Zurichexternal link, which already supports schools in Italy, Spain and Mexico. All Swiss schools abroad are required to have a canton’s backing.