Parliament has decided to ease admission rules for the 17 Swiss schools abroad, dropping the current requirement for at least 20 per cent of students to have Swiss nationality. It also wants the schools to offer a greater range of courses.
The Senate agreed on Tuesday to the change which had already been approved by the House of Representatives,
During the debates several speakers stressed the importance of the schools for the country’s image abroad and the promotion of Swiss cultural standards. They also praised the dual education system which combines classroom and on the job training.
Under the amended law Swiss schools will be able to register an unlimited number of students of other nationalities, although Swiss citizens will still have priority.
The reform is aimed at freeing up funds to set up additional schools and to encourage Swiss citizens living abroad to enrol their children.
Switzerland currently supports Swiss schools with CHF20 million ($22.8 million) annually. Most of them are in Europe and Latin America. In the 1960s two Swiss schools opened their doors in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, and in Singapore.
The current law was adopted 25 years ago. The first Swiss school abroad was founded in Naples, Italy, in 1839.
swissinfo.ch and agencies