What’s been said.
The local school law in Basle, Switzerland provides for tutoring at home on receipt of permission for HE, as long as the authority judges the teacher to be qualified for successful teaching. Permits need to be renewed yearly and are essentially granted at the discretion of the Director of the Schools Department.
Mother A’s child of nine was being bullied at school and therefore started to refuse to go to school, developing nervous symptoms such as stomach ache. In June 2017 A asked the school authorities for permission to home educate for the next school year, but was refused (the head of the School Department publicly opposes HE). An appeal hearing confirmed the authorities’ views in August 2017. A further appeal failed in February 2018. A higher level appeal concluded with a judgement at the administrative court on 25th September 2018, which meant that a request for the school year ending in July 2018 was no longer applicable. But A pursued her case and sought the judgement of the highest court (Bundesgericht).
The judges recognised the fact that the permission requested was now out of date, but determined to look into this case so similar ones in the future could be referred to this precedent. They concluded that the mother had no right to teach her own child despite him being bullied by peers and that the judicial costs of CHF 2,000 [£1,600 approx] be borne by the Appellant. (Judgement from 22nd August 2019; Ref. 2C_1005/2018). Court Judgement (German) / English Translation [Reports in English LifeSiteNews / Euro Home Ed]
Why does it matter.
This judgement is the latest of about five HE cases to come before the highest Swiss court – all have received a negative ruling. The previous judgements concerned various cases from other counties (cantons), but in each instance they opposed self-reliant, responsible parents who cared for their children.
Every county in Switzerland (as in Germany) has its own school laws and therefore its own school administrative system, so the Bundesgericht’s rulings are not automatically applicable to all of the cantons. In ten of the twenty-six cantons, HE is either impossible or requests for it are systematically refused. About ninety percent of Switzerland’s approximately two thousand HE children live in just the seven cantons where HE is permitted under relatively restrictive conditions. The overall trend is not very promising.
The aforementioned decisions of the Bundesgericht, together with uncounted cantonal rulings, embolden political efforts to extinguish the small amount of freedom currently available to HE in Switzerland. This in a country known for its “Direct Democracy”, where people not only vote for their MPs, but have their say about every significant legal change and on government expenditure above a certain level. Unfortunately there is not a single political party of the eleven in the central parliament that is sympathetic towards alternatives to education in school. The fact that the numbers of HE children have doubled in the last five years (the pioneering years were in the early nineties) is not an indication that authorities have become more generous towards engaged, self-reliant families. The opposite is actually true – officials are increasingly sceptical about HE.
Numbers are not rising because of greater acceptance of HE. The legal system is narrowing down the freedom which existed twenty years ago. The reason for the increase is that schools are becoming more and more of a threat to the children of normal people. Teachers are adversely affected by several factors: the ever rising administrative work-load and reform programmes; big classes with sometimes over eighty per cent of the children having little or no knowledge of the Swiss German or German languages; and the ever increasing diversity of the children’s ethnic and cultural backgrounds as a consequence of free immigration. Seemingly however the biggest burden for teachers trying to do their job is parents intervening with complaints and disagreements about how schools are run or how children are treated. From a school’s point of view, good parents are parents who do not care.
In the whole discussion about equality (German ‘Chancengleichheit’ i.e. equal opportunities), it appears the only solution is to dumb all children down to the lowest levels. For teachers this is easiest when there is as little input as possible from parents about the children’s behaviour and thinking. This is part of the hidden agenda of schooling. HE of course has the very opposite targets and therefore is not only controversial, but basically anti-social from the viewpoint of teachers, teachers’ unions, school authorities, administrators, politicians, journalists and not least UNESCO Switzerland, together with all its international allies.
What can I do.
Take this warning to heart and learn that education in the hand of the bureaucrats is being slowly replaced with ideologically-rooted equality. Consequently these officials’ intention is not what they declare, “to educate”, but “to dumb us down” (see John Taylor Gatto, “Dumbing us Down – The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling” 1992).
Do not trust any person who claims to be concerned with the well-being of your child. They might mean this as a private individual, but not as an official. What they seek is to fulfil their own or someone else’s bigger agenda.
Never be tempted to think that government control is good, useful or necessary for the well-being of your child. New regulations about HE in the UK and in many other countries are inevitable.
What you can do is to brace yourself and your family not to conform to education laws that increase state control. Parenthood trumps any regulation, well or badly intentioned. Prepare yourself by learning to stand up for natural parenthood and encourage others to do the same!
The guest author of this Byte is a Swiss national. If home educating parents in other countries outside the UK wish to write for The HE Byte, please contact us by using this form.
For those seeking to research further into The Global Education 2030 Agenda here are some links to sources in English: