Introduction of Curriculum 21 – in many cantons ever more doubtful

cc. Meanwhile in 13 of 21cantons popular initiatives have been launched against the planned introduction of Curriculum 21. It is obvious that this resistance cannot be allocated to any political camp, but that it has come about across all political parties and associations. Initiatives against the curriculum were already submitted in Aargau,
Schwyz, Thurgau and Zurich. (See press releases below.) In the Canton of Basel-Land a referendum is already being held on the basis of a cantonal decision. In St. Gallen one has first to vote on a withdrawal from the HarmoS Agreement, before it is possible to decide on Curriculum 21. In Schwyz, the initiative was declared invalid because it illegedly violated “superordinate law”. But the Schwyz initiative committee will go on (See. “Initiative Committee goes on”).

Sonntagszeitung: “That won’t work”

On 29 November the Sonntagszeitung reported in detail on an initiative by 20 renowned educationalists, journalists and doctors who object to Curriculum 21. The 20 member team of authors of the brochure “Objection!” include – beside the Biel teacher Alain Pichard also the Basel Councillor of States Anita Fetz, the education scientists Walter Herzog and Roland Reichenbach, but also the publicist Beat Kappler or the pediatrician Remo Largo. The brochure aims at sparking a broader debate on the curriculum, also in the left-wing camp, among others it is intended to point out the low-achieving pupils’ disadvantage that are associated with the curriculum by many critics.

Substantiated criticism

Criticism of the curriculum is now broadly based and seems to more and more raise its practical implementation to question. Both from the academic community as well as from the practical side some serious deficits have repeatedly been pointed out. The planned introduction of a “competence”-oriented teaching with simultaneous dissolution of class-based teaching increases the likelihood of another fall in quality at Swiss primary schools, with simultaneously additional costs at cantonal and municipal level. (Current Concerns has repeatedly covered the criticism of the curriculum and its political background.)
A curriculum relying on the fact that parents will take over the school’s tasks at home – as it is increasingly the case already today and as it will be cemented with Curriculum 21 – is clearly discriminating socially disadvantaged families since being insufficiently academically educated, they will not be able to afford expensive tutoring besides the school for their children. One should especially consider working parents, especially shift working parents, single parents or migrants. The social side of school is just passed by Curriculum 21. This curriculum is miles away from what could be called a “People’s School”.
To create a Swiss school of tomorrow and base it on an already failed American educational concepts (competences), is doomed to failure.    •

The brochure “Opjection!” can be obtained from E-mail: arkadi@bluemail.ch  

(Translation Current Concerns)