On Friday, 27 November 2015, the initiative committee submitted the cantonal popular initiative “Lehrplan vors Volk” with more than 12,000 signatures – 6,000 are necessary for a realisation. The initiative demands that in future the cantonal parliament will have to decide on the curriculum and that the people will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum. Such a change means a greater say in education policy, which will increase the acceptance of the curriculum by the population. By the planned implementation of “Curriculum 21” elementary school will be radically rebuilt, a procedure that must be democratically legitimised – accordingly the curriculum’s implementation has to be postponed in the Canton of Zurich until the decision on the initiative has been taken.
Anita Borer, representative of the initiative committee and SVP (Swiss People’s Party) member of the Cantonal Council, is pleased with the positive signature result: “We were able to far exceed the required number of signatures and to submit more than twice as many that required. It shows that the population needs to have a say in important changes in education policy, and that the introduction of the new curriculum must now be delayed until the decision on the initiative.”
The Curriculum 21, which is to be introduced soon in the Canton of Zurich, will change the school system radically. With the Curriculum 21 instead of learning contents countless circumstantially formulated “competences” are to be imparted. Various tried and tested structures such as the class teacher system would slowly disappear and the way would be paved for controversial reforms such as self-directed learning at the “Grundstufe” (elementary level), which has already been rejected by the people of Zurich, would be indtroduced, i.e. without participation of the people.
In addition, the constitutionally granted educational sovereignty of the cantons is undermined. Andri Silberschmidt, deputy of the initiative committee and president of the Young Liberals in Canton Zurich, attaches great importance to a federal education system: “It has proven successful in the past that the cantons had a curriculum tailored to their situation. There is no acute problem, justifying the centralisation of the curricula and this egalitarianism of the cantonal educational policy.”
For Borer it is clear: “We do not want a bureaucratic monster that administratively absorbs teachers even more through its comprehensive form, its unclear wording and involving further vocational training. We want a good, understandable curriculum, which is a mainstay for teachers in class and with which the contents are taught that prepare our children for social life in the best possible way. The Curriculum 21 points in the wrong direction. It is based on reforms that are highly controversial in the population. It is therefore clear to us that the people must have the last word.”
(Translation Current Concerns)
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