Launch of the national program Educational Landscapes Switzerland

  • The Jacobs Foundation provides CHF 4 million for the program’s initial phase
  • The first three cantons have signed cooperation agreements

Zürich, May 23, 2012:
The Educational Landscapes Switzerland program, a national initiative funded by the Jacobs Foundation, has officially begun. The foundation’s Board of Trustees has set aside four million Swiss francs for the first phase of this program, which will be implemented throughout Switzerland. Three cantons – Basel‐Stadt, Fribourg and Zurich – have signed cooperation agreements and will be participating in the first phase of the program. With the program, the Jacobs Foundation intends to encourage schools and non‐formal partners to work together in innovative and targeted ways to ensure that all children have equal chances to high‐quality education, both within and outside the school context. The goal is to help everyone involved in caring for and educating the younger generation – organizations, parents and schools – to find the proper balance between a division of tasks and collaborative efforts. In a second phase, to take place in 2014, the Jacobs Foundation plans to expand the program to include five more cantons.

“Swiss society is becoming more and more complex, not least because of migration, and this makes it ever more challenging to provide equal educational opportunities for all. Non‐formal education will play an increasingly important role,” says Dr. Johann Christian Jacobs, Chairman of the Jacobs Foundation Board of Trustees. “We work with cantons and municipalities to develop innovative approaches within the Swiss educational system, in an effort to enhance young people’s opportunities for education and development, both at school and beyond.”

Education is not confined to school

Education, from a comprehensive perspective, includes not only formal, schoolbased instruction in reading, writing, mathematics and other cognitive skills, but also the social and emotional skills children and young people will need to succeed in their social and occupational lives. Imparting these skills is a task that schools cannot fulfill on their own, not least because of the diverse family situations found in a heterogeneous cultural and social environment. Accordingly, the Jacobs Foundation has launched its nation‐wide Educational Landscapes program to encourage people and organizations to work together.

“If children and youth are to develop to their full potential, it is essential to form networks of partners encompassing a wide range of areas. In this context, we welcome the ambitious Educational Landscapes Switzerland program,” says Ludwig Gärtner, deputy director of the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO). “When children are our focus, it is crucial for parents, the educational system and children and youth work to cooperate with one another.”

Local educational networks and the Educational Landscapes Switzerland program

Educational networks may be formed, for example, when preschools and schools work together systematically with parents and child care providers (in‐home providers, daycare centers, etc.) to facilitate children’s transitions to preschool and primary school. The Educational Landscapes Switzerland program provides an opportunity for municipalities in the participating cantons to create such networks. Following an application process, at the end of 2012 three innovative local educational networks in each canton will be chosen to receive systematic support over a period of four years.

The IBB Institute for the Management and Economics of Education at the Teacher Training University of Central Switzerland in Zug will provide academic support for the program and analyze its results. A national group of representatives of the federal government, the cantons and teachers’ and youth associations will steer the program. Members of this steering group include the following: Hans Ambühl (Secretary
General of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education, EDK), Emilie Graff (Head of Social Policy at the Swiss National Youth Council, SNYC), Ludwig Gärtner (Deputy Director of the Federal Social Insurance Office, BSV), Margrit Hanselmann (Secretary General of the Conference of Swiss Social Directors, SODK) and Beat Zemp (President of the Organization of Swiss Teachers), as well as Ernst Buschor (Jacobs Foundation Board of Trustees) and Bernd Ebersold (CEO of the Jacobs Foundation).

The Jacobs Foundation

The Jacobs Foundation is active worldwide in promoting child and youth development. Founded in Zurich in 1988 by entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs, the foundation has an annual budget of approximately 35 million Swiss francs for funding research projects, scientific institutions and interventions. The Jacobs Foundation is committed to scientific excellence and evidence‐based research. Its support for Jacobs University in Bremen is recognized as a model for the private funding of scientific inquiry in Europe.