Edulog: Federation of Identity Services in the Swiss Education Area
In October 2019, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education EDK approved the establishment of Edulog as part of the implementation of its Digitalisierungsstrategie [digitisation strategy]. Edulog stands for "Federation of Identity Services in the Swiss Education Area". The aim of Edulog is to give learners, teachers and employees of the school administrations of compulsory schools and upper secondary schools (baccalaureate schools, specialized schools and vocational schools) simplified access to online services for schools and teaching. The Federation protects personal data, secures digital access and creates trust for learning in a digital context. Edulog will accompany pupils and young people throughout their education at compulsory and upper secondary school and will also ensure the transition to tertiary level.
According to current plans, first access to online services via the Federation will be possible from the beginning of the school year 2020/2021. From this date, the first cantons and service providers will participate in the Federation. The contractor of the Federation is the EDK. The cantons finance the central infrastructure jointly. The specialist agency educa.ch, which is active in the field of ICT and education, acts as office of Edulog.
Basic competences in mathematics and languages: Surveys 2016 and 2017
The cantons are obliged by the Constitution to harmonise educational objectives. They have jointly developed instruments for the harmonisation of these objectives. They include the national educational objectives (basic competences) of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education EDK or the new language-regional curricula. The introduction of these and other instruments is a long-term process and is not yet complete.
At the starting point of the harmonisation process, surveys have now been carried out for the first time with the participation of all the cantons to determine how many pupils achieve the basic competences that have been defined by the EDK in 2011. The results are also an indicator of the degree of harmonisation of educational objectives between the cantons. Competences tested were language of instruction and first foreign language at the end of primary school (2017) and mathematics at the end of compulsory education (2016). See the brief information on the results of the surveys (in german).
Joint education policy objectives: Declaration 2019
In September 2019, the Federal Department of Economics Affairs, Education and Research EAER and the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education EDK updated their joint education policy objectives for the Swiss education area (c.f. Erklärung 2019: Chancen optimal nutzen - gemeinsame bildungspolitische Ziele für den Bildungsraum Schweiz [Declaration 2019: Optimal use of opportunities - joint education policy objectives for the Swiss education area]. The long-term objectives set out in the Declaration 2015 remain relevant and have been further developed based on the latest findings of the Swiss Education Report 2018.
Two new goals were included in the Declaration 2019. The first concerns the digital transformation. It deals with the new challenges of the digitalised world of work and society and the use of the opportunities this presents. The second concerns exchange and mobility. The aim is to promote language learning in a national and international context. Both new objectives relate to strategies in the above-mentioned areas which the Confederation and the cantons have adopted jointly or separately in 2017 and 2018 respectively. In addition, the objective on career and study choices has been extended to cover all vocational, academic and career guidance services and now takes a transversal dimension. The EAER and EDK will derive concrete measures in their areas of responsibility from the joint objectives and contribute to the achievement of the objectives by implementing them.
Information technology at baccalaureate schools
In August 2018, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education’s (EDK) amended Maturitätsanerkennungsreglement (MAR) [baccalaureate recognition regulation]and the Confederation’s likewise amended Maturitäts-Anerkennungsverordnung (MAV) [baccalaureate recognition ordinance] entered into force. The amendment entails the introduction of information technology lessons as a compulsory subject for all baccalaureate school pupils by 2022/2023 at the latest. Teaching is based on the new Rahmenlehrplan Informatik [Framework curriculum for information technology]. Under the framework curriculum pupils are to acquire a broad basic education in information technology. They will be introduced to concepts such as the fundamentals of programming languages, to the important technical backgrounds of computer networks, or to security aspects of digital communication, and are to develop a sound understanding of the backgrounds to the information society.
Digitisation strategy for the education system
In June 2018, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) adopted the objectives of a national Digitalisierungsstrategie [Digitisation strategy] for the education system. The overriding objective of the digitisation strategy is to provide the best possible support to pupils on their way to becoming responsible and autonomous individuals in a world undergoing continuous change due to digitisation. The aims of the strategy apply to seven distinct areas: (1) Use of data in the education system: i.e. dealing with the data generated by digitisation and data security, (2) the necessary skills and resources for schools and school administrations (equipment, infrastructure, digital identity), (3) digital skills needed by pupils and other learners (4) ongoing further and continuing education for teachers on questions related to digitisation, (5) utilisation of the potential of digitisation through research and innovation, (6) clarification of the role of new players, and (7) use of new technological possibilities in education authority networks.
By spring 2019 the EDK will be specifying the measures leading to achievement of the goal. The Confederation is supporting the digitisation process in the education sector through its Action Plan for Digitisation for the years 2019 and 2020.
Strategy for Exchange and Mobility
In October 2017, the Confederation and the cantons approved a jointly drafted Schweizerische Strategie Austausch und Mobilität. The Strategy aims to make exchange and mobility an integral part of education and working life, as well as of out-of-school activities. The objective is to increase the recognition and promotion of exchange and mobility, and thereby achieve greater participation. To this end, existing programmes are to be expanded and developed, and easy access provided to information and programmes. Finally, the Strategy creates the conditions for effective cooperation and coordination between the Confederation and the cantons as well as the other stakeholders in the field of exchange and mobility. The Strategy for Exchange and Mobility is designed for the long term. The Confederation and the cantons are committed to a gradual implementation of the Strategy. At the operational level, responsibility lies largely with the agency Movetia, which has been set up by the Confederation and the cantons to promote exchange and mobility.
Recommendations on language teaching
In October 2017, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) adopted Empfehlungen [recommendations] on the teaching of the national languages and of English in compulsory education. The aim is to support the cantons in their efforts to maintain and further develop good foreign language teaching. The Recommendations are directed at the cantons and at the universities of teacher education, and incorporate the topics classroom teaching, basic and continuing education of teachers, promotion of exchange and mobility for pupils and teachers, and implementation of research projects. In addition to the Recommendations, Examples of Gute Praxis im Sprachenunterricht [Good Practice in language teaching] have also been drawn up.
Compulsory information technology at the baccalaureate school
In February 2017, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) launched consultations on whether information technology should be a compulsory subject for all pupils. The EDK presented the draft framework curriculum for information technology, describing contents and objectives. As a subject, information technology is not about teaching pupils how to use computers but about teaching the key principles of information technology. The basic education envisaged covers the main features of programming languages, technical backgrounds of computer networks, security aspects of digital communication, etc.
If the proposal is favourably received in consultations, the next step will be to amend the Swiss baccalaureate recognition regulation.
Admission to university with a specialised baccalaureate and a supplementary examination
Since January 2017, holders of a specialised baccalaureate have been entitled to study at a university once they have passed a supplementary examination (“Passerelle”). Previously, this admission option was open only to those holding the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate; those with a specialised baccalaureate who wanted to study at a higher education institution had to catch up the baccalaureate.
The Federal Council adopted a corresponding amendment of the Ordinance in October 2016. The cantons have given their consent to the amendment of the intercantonal law.