Zurich Restricts Homeschooling to State-Licensed Teachers

Tue Dec 9, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Ellen M. Rice

ZURICH, Switzerland, December 9,2008 ( - The leading Swiss newspaper, Tages Anzeiger, reports that the by next summer the Canton of Zurich will restrict homeschooling rights to parents who are certified teachers.   

“Parents will only be allowed to educate their children at home when they have a teacher’s certificate,” reported Tages Anzeiger on December 4.  According to the paper there are fifty parents affected within the Canton of Zurich. 

Eight of these families so far have announced that they are resisting the legislation, and face fines up to 5000 francs ($4100 USD) and possible citations for disobedience of official orders.  Appeals of the Zurich decision are being filed, but so far the Education Director has rejected all compromise solutions.

Professor Georg Stöckli of the Education Institute of the University of Zürich says he agrees with the new restrictions: “Children from early on have an urge to separate themselves from their parents.  One should not hinder them in this ... The family alone is not enough to satisfy the social needs of the children.” 

According to the Code Civile Suisse of December 10, 1907, parents are responsible for seeing to a child’s education and to his physical, intellectual and moral well-being. Each Swiss Canton, however, may interpret this law differently. Two cantons currently outlaw homeschooling outright, and Zurich now joins other cantons with severe restrictions. Before this restriction, home education was freely permitted, with Zurich authorities checking student progress once or twice per year. 

A 2002 motion to require Zurich homeschoolers and private schools to teach “the same world view” as public schools, be staffed by certified teachers, and be evaluated by the Canton’s education board, failed.

Homeschoolers in Europe are in many cases up against increasingly hostile political forces. This holds true especially of Germany, where numerous homeschooling families have been persecuted in recent years, with children being removed from their homes in some cases.

In November of this year, a German homeschooling family whose children were removed forcibly in 2006 applied for political asylum in the United States.  Uwe and Hannelore Romeike of Bissingen, Germany, and their five children arrived in the United States in August of this year. The family has settled in Eastern Tennessee where they were welcomed by local homeschool supporters and are being assisted by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

Excerpts from the Tages Anzieger article are translated into English at the “Principled Discovery” homeschool blog “Principled Discovery.”

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