Swiss Children Urged To Learn A Second Language

The Swiss Federal Office of Culture urged primary schools to start teaching children a second national language. It is notable to observe that Switzerland has four official languages, which include French, German, Italian and Romanish.

The recommendation by the Swiss Federal office of culture was presented in an official report, which was released publicly. Switzerland’s school children and teachers are embroiled in a battle to choose which language to teach. The country is facing a controversy in teaching foreign languages, many teachers and councillors are debating the usefulness of English versus French or German.

Government officials will have to decide on the issue formally after the Swiss senate releases a final verdict. Cantonal officials in the meantime have been adapting the school curriculum to allow all children to start learning an official second language along with English.

According to reports students in German speaking Switzerland are exposed to Swiss German and then they get to decide whether they want to learn English or French depending on the canton they live in.

English is gaining increasing popularity in Switzerland because of its global reach, and is taught in most Swiss cantonal schools.

A report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) noted that Swiss students are doing remarkably well in math. Students in Switzerland received the best score for mathematics in Europe, with Switzerland closely beating countries like Estonia.

Even though Swiss students are burdened with the hurdle of learning a second language this has not in any way impeded their progress in subjects like math.

Swiss schools also preformed remarkably well in Science, even though students did not necessarily get the top spot, their science progress was judged to be better than the OECD average.

The survey which was carried out collaboratively by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and OECD, showed that Swiss students scored averagely in reading compared to other subjects like Math and Science.

About 6,600 Swiss students participated in the PISA assessment, this year the assessments were carried out electronically using computers instead of the traditional handwritten tests.

The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) stated that the change in the assessment method posed a challenge to gauge the new figures with older ones.

“We can reasonably expect differences depending on whether a test is carried out on paper or a computer,” a statement from SERI mentioned.

The SERI report also stated “The PISA programme is currently the only way for Switzerland to make an international comparison of students’ skills.”

In total 540,000 students from 72 countries completed the PISA assessment with Switzerland getting top sores in math and science, while Singapore outperformed all other participating countries in math, science and reading.