Topic in Focus: Switzerland and Childhood

Switzerland flag over the Alps (Pixabay)
Switzerland flag over the Alps (Pixabay)

The Swiss education system is consistently ranked among the best in the world. But what is it about the nation’s approach to teaching children that has garnered such a high reputation, particularly in the case of primary school students? These three articles from world-leading education scholars, newly added to the Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies platform, seek to outline and explore the methods behind Switzerland’s primary education system.

Read Philip D. Jaffé, Jean Zermatten and Özlem Lakatos’ article on government, policy, and the role of the state in childhood in Switzerland here.

Read Gisela Unterweger’s article on agency and rights in childhood in Switzerland here.

Read Gisela Unterweger and Anja Sieber Egger’s overview of childhood in Switzerland here.

Exlore more of our content about education in Switzerland here.

Country in Focus: Poland

Poland flag (Pixabay)
Poland flag (Pixabay)

Poland’s status as a former member of the Soviet Union has had a lasting impact on the approach and structure of its education system. Forming part of the ‘Eastern Bloc’ following the Second World War, the newly-implemented Soviet emphasis on social equality granted access to free higher education, providing the lower social classes with an opportunity to improve their position in society. The birth of the Solidarity movement in the 1980s brought about the fall of communism in Poland, and the country subsequently became a member of the EU.

Polling station (Pixabay)
Polling station (Pixabay)

Challenges of Democracy

Democracy, however, brought about its own set of problems, and was a concept that had to be learned anew after 45 years of communist rule. In the 1990s, Poland reformed its educational system to improve citizens’ educational attainment and provide them with a better grasp of the new capitalist reality. The decision to give back autonomy to universities, for instance, was intended to limit state control of academic governance. In spite of this, the state has been seen to frequently intervene in curricula, public financing and public steering of teaching and research, with author Dorota Dakowska arguing that this ideological confusion ‘exemplifies the way austerity has been applied to academia in the form of cuts in public expenditure, competitive financing and far-reaching privatization.’

hildren drawing (Pixabay)
Children drawing (Pixabay)

Special Needs and Disability

In the modern age, Poland faces challenges in terms of adapting to the special needs of students in primary education. Read Monika Skura’s article on special needs and disability in primary education in Poland here.

Read more

View our previous Topics and Countries in Focus here.

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