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Swiss canton wants to make parents pay if children speak poor German

Swiss canton wants to make parents pay if children speak poor German

The Swiss canton of Thurgau expressed its concern regarding the poor German language skills among the citizens, The Local Switzerland reported. Urs Schrepfer, a cantonal deputy with the conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP) offers to make parents pay if children speak poor German.

The German language is a must for people who live in Swiss canton Thurgau, so, kids should speak it well, otherwise, parents will pay a contribution towards the costs of German-language classes. According to the conservative SVP’s representative, the changing in Constitution can force parents to share the costs of language classes for their kindergarten-aged children if their German is not good enough.

The problem is kids are not able to learn all disciplines well in the pre-school because of poor knowledge of their native German.

It’s part of a long-running debate in the country about how to deal with the fact that an increasing number of children are starting compulsory preschool education without having the necessary language skills. People who had only recently arrived in the country, however, are able to speak German at any level, so do their kids.

The president of the Swiss Teachers Federation, Beat W. Zemp emphasizes that the canton’s proposed law would meet a constitutional roadblock on two fronts – in terms of Article 19 and Article 18, which guarantees the freedom to use any language. Meanwhile, others have pointed to the current model in the canton of Basel-Stadt where parents are sent a questionnaire a year before their children enter compulsory kindergarten to ask about their children’s language skills.

If children do not have the necessary skills at that stage, they must attend two half days of language playgroup a week. If the youngsters do not attend, parents face a fine of 1,000 Swiss francs (€880). Luzern has opted for a similar model, while Zurich chose not to follow this path because of the high costs involved.