Cantons to adopt common education rules

Ten cantons are set to join up their school systems after backing an agreement aimed at harmonising the parameters of education in Switzerland.

This content was published on April 6, 2009 minutes

The HarmoS agreement can become law across the ten cantons after receiving backing from canton Ticino, said Gabriele Gendotti, vice-president of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Directors of Education. It follows a failed referendum attempt there by the youth chapter of the rightwing Swiss People's Party.

Gendotti said on Monday that he believed those cantons resistant to the project would now have to ratify the agreement as the goal of ten supporting cantons had been reached.

HarmoS, a project put forward by the conference, would replace a harmonisation agreement in force since 1970.

Measures would include reducing the starting age for compulsory schooling from six to four, providing extra care options outside school hours, organising school lessons according to timetables and harmonising the teaching of foreign languages.

It has the backing of cantons Ticino, Geneva, Glarus, Jura, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, St Gallen, Vaud, Valais and Zurich. Four others - Lucerne, Graubünden, Thurgau and Nidwalden - rejected the project by popular vote. The remaining 12 cantons have yet to decide on it.

A May start date is expected to be fixed for the agreement. Once it enters into force, those cantons in favour will have six years to adapt their systems and apply the standards.

swissinfo with agencies

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