I am delighted that the initiative “Ja zu einer guten Thurgauer Volksschule ohne Lehrplan 21” (“Yes to a good Thurgau elementary school without curriculum 21”) has been substantiated. With this, the orientation and goals of the elementary school curriculum are subjected to the democratic process in the third German-speaking Swiss Canton after Schwyz and Aargau, and no longer determined only by the government. During my collecting signatures, I have been experiencing many stimulating conversations.
Especially parents are grateful for the initiative. Many observe with concern that increasingly the guided learning rarely takes place in school classes. By self-organized learning arrangements in the so-called learning environments students are to develop their competences either alone or in groups often without a teacher based on various tasks. The parents claim that apparently many children were overstrained and therefore in need of help in the parental home. The imparting of the material, thorough practice and diligent work often went too short.
The atmosphere during signature collection showed that in general education cuts are criticized. The ongoing education reforms such as the mixed-age learning resulted in unrest in many classes. More and more young people are no longer sufficiently prepared for the realities of working life, because they no longer master the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. It is not only the fear of apprentice trainers that the curriculum 21 will worsen this. Like me, many teachers also support the initiative for pedagogical reasons. Many of them feared professional disadvantages by signing the initiative. Some came under pressure on the part of superiors because they critically commented on education reforms – that, by the way, become unmovable by the curriculum 21.
Given the growing number of people’s initiatives, the already long overdue public discussion about the basic thrust of the elementary school is taking place. In Zurich, the initiative has also been submitted, and signatures are being collected in the Cantons of Solothurn, Schaffhausen, Graubünden and Lucerne. In the Cantons of Berne and Zug initiatives are planned. The Canton Appenzell Innerrhoden will vote on a single initiative at the general assembly in spring 2016. The Parliament in the Canton Baselland submits the curriculum 21 directly to the people and in the Canton St. Gallen in the first place the abandonment of HarmoS will be voted on.
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