Homeschooling is on the rise, with nearly 900 French-speaking children enrolled today. Each canton tolerates these alternative pedagogies more or less well, but the most permissive, Neuchatel and Vaux, envisage reforms.
At Mosteau-Lutolf there is no stress during the start of the school year. The four children are 4, 10, 12 and 15 years old and train at home, or rather “live” as their mother Deborah Lutolf would say. “A leaf of wood, an engine, a computer, a neighbor, learning opportunities are everywhere. The luxury we have at home is to have our children, seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” she emphasizes.
The phenomenon remains marginal, but more and more families in Romandie are educating their children at home. The main canton under consideration, the canton of Vaud, brings together two-thirds of these parallel “staffs”. They are 580 at the beginning of the academic year 2019 compared to 72 ten years earlier.
Parent-Teacher Act Back on the Table
The canton of Vaux acts as a magnet for families who want to take charge of their children’s education themselves. There are no prerequisites, no request for permission, you just have to report to the authorities. The cantons of Geneva and Bern allow home schooling under certain conditions. The same in Friborg and Valais, but with an additional requirement: one of the parents must hold a teacher’s certificate. So much so that some are considering moving in next door to escape the criterion.
>> Homeschooling is attracting more and more French-speaking people, but the context varies greatly from one canton to another. Report from 19:30:
This situation may change because the most permissive cantons want to tighten the screws. In Neuchatel, the authorities plan to draw inspiration from Friborg’s parent-teacher law. “[Celles et ceux] who want to teach their child at home must provide the same teaching as that given in school, therefore with the new means of teaching, with the quality of the educational objectives that are in the public school. As a parent, you cannot replace a dozen competent professionals,” explains Jean-Claude Marguet, head of the department of compulsory education of the canton of Neuchatel, at 19:30.
Group training is preferred
Vaudois State Councilor Sesla Amarel adds. “These children should be able, if they want, to go back to compulsory school, because that’s where they learn to live together, that’s where they learn in a class, in a collective.”
But for Deborah Lutolf, life in the community is also learned outside the walls of the school. His children do not live in a vacuum, but play sports with other peers and are members of various associations. For her, this is an alternative pedagogy that should have its place, today more than ever. “People are increasingly being asked to have original ideas, to think outside the box, to be original, and behind that they are being asked not to be too imaginative and to do what they’re told.”
Between a real alternative to public school or an option limited to exceptional situations, what place for this other way of learning in French-speaking Switzerland? Everything will be resolved in the next few months.
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