The cantons have up until now generally used school inspectorates to monitor quality assurance and development at state-run and private schools in compulsory education. School inspectors are responsible for advising schools and for the cantonal monitoring of schools. They support the operation of the school as regards structural, administrative, staffing and educational matters and advise teaching staff, authorities and parents.
In recent years the tasks and functions of the traditional school inspectors have changed. The abolition of school inspectorates in favour of specialist offices for quality development and assurance is accompanied by a professionalisation of the staff of these offices. For external assessment in particular most cantons have set up specialist offices for external school assessment, in which assessors examine and assess school and teaching quality. As a result of the schools’ increased autonomy, the internal safeguarding and development of school and teaching quality rests with the school administrations and teaching staff.
The cantons are responsible for monitoring upper secondary level general education schools. The school administration is responsible for specialist and educational management, while the monitoring thereof is usually delegated to a particular authority (e.g. supervisory board, baccalaureate examinations board). There is generally one such body for each school. A very few cantons have inspectorates for the specialist and educational supervision of baccalaureate schools. The supervisory authorities may sit in on lessons and participate as experts in carrying out examinations, especially school-leaving examinations. The school administration may carry out teacher evaluation.
Requirements for Appointment as an Inspector
There are no specific training courses for school inspectors; they usually have a teaching degree and/or a university degree, several years’ teaching experience or good knowledge of the (local) education system, management experience and, at the most, CET, e.g. in the fields of evaluation, development of the school and teaching, or organisation. Similar requirements apply to external evaluation specialists.
For school heads there are specific CET courses in the field of quality management.
Conditions of Service
The conditions of service differ depending on the canton or commune and level. School inspectors are usually responsible for specific regions; they may work full-time or part-time. Full-time school inspectors are professionals (e.g. former teachers), while part-time school inspectors can also be lay people.