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In a first, Swiss schools reach out to India to attract students

Schools from across Switzerland are now reaching out to countries like India to send students from here to Swiss secondary schools. Swiss Learning, an educational body managed by the Heads of Swiss Educational Institutes has brought representatives from various schools from the country to meet stakeholders, Indian schools and parents of potential students, for the first time in India.

Christophe X Clivaz, Director, Swiss Learning said, “Switzerland is a country that prides itself in offering first class education through its pre- and post university studies and in being the leader in scientific research. These qualities ensure that pupils are equipped to confront the present day challenges and opportunities of globalisation.”

He further said that additionally, while Switzerland offers a range of examinations renowned throughout the world, it is the headquarters for International Baccalaureate (IB), a premier educational program that is gaining tremendous popularity in India.

Beau Soleil College Alpin International is seeing an increasing demand from parents. Eva Ghewij, Director of Admissions & Marketing at the College Alpin Beau Soleil explained that the student-teacher ratio is good, apart from the fact that they pay equal attention to sports and academics. The school conducts an entrance examination in English and Mathematics apart from an interview for students.

“There are different schools to cater to the different needs of children. Hence, when parents approach us with a specific need for their child, we advise them on which school would be the best for their child,” she said. Students of this school also travel to different parts of the world to learn about different cultures and do projects on the same.

Swiss Learning is also looking to partner with some Indian schools, so that students could take part in exchange programmes even at the secondary school levels. Clivaz explained that Swiss students could come to Indian schools for some weeks and vice-versa through this exchange. Several Swiss schools have such arrangements with schools in other countries.

Institut Montana Zugerberg, overlooking the city of Zug and its lake (Picture Source: Institut Montana Zugerberg website)

Under Swiss Learning, there are several high schools including Institut Le Rosey, Brillantmont International School, Institut auf dem Rosenberg, College Champittet, Lyceum Alpinum, Zuoz, College Beau Soleil, Aiglon College, TASIS (The American School in Switzerland), Institute Montana Zugerberg, College du Leman and Leysin American School. It also includes Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches International School of Hotel Management.

On an average, education in these schools would cost 70,000-100,000 Swiss Francs (about Rs 45 lakh-Rs 64 lakh) per year. This includes boarding, loading and trips for educational purposes. Clivaz also said that they have about 120 nationalities there and various qualifications to choose from, for students.

Currently boarding schools in Switzerland accept students until 12th Grade. The majority of these schools offer intensive studies in English, French, Italian or German as a second language enabling all students to quickly integrate into the mainstream program. The option of pursuing bilingual studies is also a popular feature of Swiss boarding schools.

Programmes on offer lead to a range of examinations renowned throughout the world. These include the IGCSE, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), A-Levels, the Swiss Federal Maturity, the French Baccalaureate and the German Abitur. These certificates are accepted for entry into Swiss universities and to universities in other countries according to the specific conditions of each institution.

The Swiss Learning schools offer a wide range of international summer camps with language courses in the morning and extensive sporting activities in the afternoons such as tennis, mountain climbing, rock climbing, rafting, golf academy, horse riding, sailing, basketball, football academy with in conjunction with AC Milan, and many more.

Iris Guery, Head of Admissions & Marketing, Lyceum Alpinum, Zuoz added that they have about 10 per cent maximum per nation with respect to nationalities and hence they have a good mix of students. They also have options of hiking, sailing and skiing.

Parents have also been happy with their choice. The parent of an Indian-origin student studying in Switzerland explained that she had the option to get her son enrolled to IB schools in the US, but chose Switzerland due to the good academic environment apart from excellent extra-curricular activities.

Educational consultants are of the view that emerging destinations like Switzerland have attracted student fancy. “Many affluent parents in India are open to sending their children abroad even for school education. With good proximity to France, Italy and Germany and higher standard of education, Swiss schools provide a good option though the fee may be higher than IB schools in India,” said a Mumbai-based overseas education consultant.

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