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Swiss teachers want to prioritize national languages over English

Local News // Oct. 4, 2016
Swiss teachers want to prioritize national languages over English

Two Swiss teaching unions have come out in favour of French being taught as a second language in primary schools instead of English. The Swiss Teachers' Union and the Union of French-speaking teachers said today that they support the government's view that a second national language should be taught at primary school but that the cantons should be left to decide how this works in practice.

Their support comes in response to a continuing language row as an increasing number of primary schools in German-speaking cantons have favoured English over French. The teaching unions say that French lessons should be compulsory but that English can also be taught if cantons decide to do so.

The controversy over which languages are taught in schools has raged since 2004 when cantonal education directors decided that all cantons must teach two ‘foreign' languages in Swiss primary schools, English being one and a Swiss national language being the other.

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