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Expat families are staying in Basel longer and longer. State schools are now responding to this trend, it was reported. For example, they are expanding the special courses in German being offered.
Expatriates working in Basel's pharma sector, among other areas, are remaining in Switzerland for ever longer periods of time. “Many expats now have permanent employment contracts and are staying longer than just a few years,” explains Kathy Hartman, who supports the integration of expats with her association, Baselconnect, talking to the SRF. For children of these expat families, attending a state school is often the best way to integrate.
As headteacher of the oldest high school in Basel, Gymnasiums am Münsterplatz, Eugen Krieger can confirm that ever-more expat children are going to state schools in Basel. Over his tenure, the student body has noticeably changed. “Alongside German, you hear English, Spanish, French, but also Hindi and Mandarin on the school yard,” he remarks.
To support the integration of expat children, many schools are now offering more special courses in German and French, the SRF report found. Of the 500 students currently attending the Gymnasium am Münsterplatz, one in five are also taking a special course in these languages. According to German teacher Stefan Schwarz, children in these courses are generally from well-educated families and extremely motivated to learn. On the whole, it can be said that the quality of the teaching at Basel’s schools is a factor in pharma companies choosing this location, feels Eugen Krieger.