VoHomeschooling is on the rise, but the rules will become stricter
As everywhere in Switzerland, the canton of Vaux has seen a surge in the number of homeschoolers. More permissive, it should act hardening policy.
The phenomenon is the same in most cantons that allow parents to educate their children at home: the number of homeschoolers is increasing, and rapidly. In the canton of Vaud there were 759 in 2021 compared to 220 in 2013. The canton notes “an annual increase of around 20% since 2013”. For the beginning of the academic year 2022, the number is not known, especially because the Vaud regime is very flexible compared to that of Geneva for example (see box).
In German-speaking Switzerland, the phenomenon is the same. Several media outlets published the latest data. In Zurich, where the system is quite similar to Vaudois, there are already 789 students registered for home schooling for the start of the 2022 school year, compared to just 248 three years ago. In Geneva, the number is also increasing, but remains very low, around sixty this autumn, because the conditions are more severe. Friborg and Vallee also require the person sending a child to school to have a recognized teaching qualification.
Excluding a child from school requires only an announcement, and sometimes parents do it only after the beginning of the school year. But things have to change. A draft law proposed for consultation under former state councilor Sesla Amarel aimed to move from a “declaration” system to an “authorization” system. Parents will have to prove during the process that they have a “sufficient level of education”, defined as upper secondary education or equivalent.
It can also be in a foreign language
It is about, among other things, “the protection of childhood and youth against religious or sectarian influences threatening the chances of social integration, the right to sexual freedom and the free choice of a life partner,” County wrote. Note that instruction may be in a language other than French, but then the program must include the teaching of French as a second language.
The consultation has closed and negative views have emerged (read below). The bill can still be adapted, in particular with the arrival of the new State Councilor Frédéric Borloz, and parliament could pass it by early next year.
Opposition to reforms
The association IEL – Instruire en liberté has announced its opposition to the change in regulations. “The permission system is too biased against the freedom of families to choose the mode of education that best suits their children’s needs, guaranteed by the Vaux Constitution,” she said. If the reform succeeds, however, she would like to keep the possibility for the child to withdraw from school at any time, and not just at the beginning of each semester, as the project envisages. She also wants the permit to be automatically renewed, rather than repeated every year, as the canton wants.