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Education reforms to dominate Swiss Abroad Congress

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About 500 Swiss expatriates are gathering in the town of Zug for the annual congress of the Swiss abroad. Over the next three days, discussions will focus on changes in the country's education system.

This content was published on August 18, 2000 - 10:04

Ahead of the congress, 100 representatives of the governing council of the Swiss abroad were meeting on Friday for the annual assembly. Among the issues on the agenda were the bilateral accords with the European Union, and Switzerland's plans to join the United Nations.

The new organisation to promote Switzerland's image abroad, called Presence Switzerland, was also being discussed, as well as the planned National Exhibition, Expo 02 and the state pension scheme.

On Saturday, several panels with politicians, experts and other personalities will give an overview of the changes in the Swiss education system, and compare it with other countries.

The panels will also debate the impact of the changes in the field of education and the needs of the Swiss economy.

One of the traditional highlights will be a speech by a member of the Swiss government. This year, the federal chancellor, Annemarie Huber-Hotz, will address the meeting.

More than 580,000 people are registered as Swiss expatriates. Most of them have dual nationality. Latest figures show that nearly 60 per cent live in European Union countries.

The number of Swiss citizens choosing to live abroad has increased significantly in recent years. The director of the Organisation for the Swiss Abroad, Rudolf Wyder, said that one of the major reasons for the growing number of emigrants is that people move away to study elsewhere and then carry on their lives in the adopted country.

Most Swiss expatriates (more than 150,000) live in neighbouring France. After France, the biggest expatriate communities are in the United States (67,929), Germany (67,728), Italy (41,140) and Canada (34,192).

by Urs Geiser

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