Teachers' blacklist gets firmer foundation

The list is intended to protect children Keystone

Swiss cantons’ access to a blacklist of teachers banned from the profession, including those who are accused of paedophilia, has been given a legal basis.

This content was published on February 25, 2005 - 15:40

The Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education said on Friday that a solution to a row over data protection had been found.

The conference introduced the list on January 1 last year. It includes the names of teachers banned for paedophilia or violent behaviour.

Education officials said the list was intended to protect children by stopping teachers who are no longer allowed to carry out the profession in one canton from applying for a job in another.

They added that the list would not stop cantons from giving teachers a second chance, if they deemed it appropriate.

But the list caused a storm of protest from data protection supporters, including the Swiss association of data protection officers.

The conference said that although the list was legal, it had decided to address data-protection concerns.

An article has been added to the intercantonal agreement on the recognition of diplomas, currently being revised, and gives cantons an explicit legal basis for using the list.

Conference spokeswoman Gabriela Fuchs said this revision had been carried out in consultation with the cantons.

Great success

The list will now contain the name of the person, when they received their teacher’s certificate or the authorisation to teach, the date when the ban went into effect and how long it should last. Names will be removed when the ban is over.

In addition, a person whose name has been added to or removed from the list will be advised that this has happened.

Cantonal and local authorities will be able to ask in writing if a person’s name is on the list. The education conference said previously that specific information about the person or their record would not be given out.

"The Swiss association of data protection officers considers it a great success that its efforts have resulted in the conference providing a legal basis for the blacklist of teachers," said the association’s head, Bruno Baeriswyl.

Teachers’ organisations are largely in favour of the list. Beat Zemp, president of the national teachers’ umbrella organisation, said that members had no objections to the list, provided it did not harm teachers’ personal rights.

Zemp added that it was important that teachers due to be blacklisted were told.

The cantons have also welcomed the list, although some will have to adapt their legislations before they can use it.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The conference has created a list of teachers who have been banned on a cantonal level.
The list contains the teacher's name, diploma date, the ban, the banning authorities and the duration of the ban.
Authorities can write to ask for information about those listed.
Names will be taken off the list if the ban is lifted.
Teachers will be informed when they are put on and taken off the list and may see the list.

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In brief

In Switzerland schools and education are primarily the responsibility of the cantons.

The Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education comprises the 26 members of the cantonal governments who are responsible for education, training, culture and sport.

But it also works with the government on education matters.

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