Plans from the federal government to introduce mandatory sex education classes in schools and kindergartens throughout the country is stirring a controversy among conservative politicians, who are now planning to file a petition.

 

"/> Plans from the federal government to introduce mandatory sex education classes in schools and kindergartens throughout the country is stirring a controversy among conservative politicians, who are now planning to file a petition.

 

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SEX

Conservatives slam school sex ed plan

Plans from the federal government to introduce mandatory sex education classes in schools and kindergartens throughout the country is stirring a controversy among conservative politicians, who are now planning to file a petition.

 

Members of the SVP, CVP and EDU political parties are dubbing the initiative “a catastrophe,” according to a report in the daily 20 Minuten. They argue that sex education should remain primarily in the hands of the children’s parents and that making “sex classes” mandatory is going too far.

Pius Segmüller (CVP), Ulrich Schlüer (SVP), Walter Messmer (FDP) und Andreas Brönnimann (EDU) are preparing a petition against the “sexualisation” of Swiss schools, the paper said.

“We are against the planned obligation and argue that the kids should be excused from sexual education classes any time,” Schlüer was quoted as saying.

The controversy stems from a recent sex education program that includes wooden penises and fabric vaginas introduced in Basel schools. The boxes, which are being distributed to 30 primary schools and kindergartens, contain dolls, puzzles, books and other educational material for 4 to 10-year-olds, and a box with the more explicit materials for older kids.

Titus Bürgisser from the Centre for Sexual Pedagogy and School plays down the furour, stressing that teachers at all levels will be trained to competently address all issues and questions that the children may have.

“It is highly desirable that children be educated at home,” says Bürgisser. “The problem is that this is becoming less and less the case. Here, the school can have a supplemental educational mission next to the parents in the field of sex education,” he was quoted as saying by the paper.

EDUCATION

Why ETH Zurich has been ranked the ‘best university in continental Europe’

A new international survey of universities has ranked Zurich’s Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) the highest in the world outside the US and the UK. How does this school excel?

Why ETH Zurich has been ranked the 'best university in continental Europe'
ETH's main hall. Photo by Zurich.ch

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022 have placed ETH in the 15th place (out of 1,600 surveyed worldwide). The school dropped from the 14th-place ranking the previous year.

Universities in the United Kingdom and the United States hold all of the top rankings ahead of ETH Zurich.

But as the top 14 are not in continental Europe, this means ETH has the unofficial title of the of best in Europe.

What is ETH and what does it do?

It is a public research university focusing exclusively on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

It has a “sister” school located in Lausanne, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), which specialises in natural sciences and engineering. 

The EPFL ranked in the 40th place in the survey.

Why has ETH scored so high in the study?

“Our strategy is derived from our federal mandate to conduct fundamental research, train specialists and transfer new knowledge to the economy and society,” said ETH President Joël Mesot.

University ranking methodology is based on scores for high-​level indicators relating to teaching, research, international perspective, and collaboration with industry.

“ETH’s overall scores show improvement in teaching, research, and publication citations”, the university’s rankings expert Paul Cross said.

However, it dropped slightly in terms of industry income and international outlook.

“Competition is fierce at the top tier of the rankings”, Cross noted. 

Here are some interesting facts about ETH:

  • It was founded in 1855 by the Swiss government to train engineers and scientists.
  • Today 18,000 students from over 100 different countries study at ETZ, 3,800 of whom are doctoral students.
  • So far, 21 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to researchers who have or had a connection with ETH Zurich.
  • While tuition in the top-ranking schools in the UK — Oxford and Cambridge — costs well over 10,000 francs each year, and in the in the US universities, such as Yale, Harvard, Stanford and Caltech, the annual tuition exceeds 50,000 a year, at ETH it is 1,460 francs.

In all, Switzerland is home to seven of the world’s top universities. Aside from ETH and EPFL, they are University of Zurich (75th place), University of Bern (101st), Universities of Basel and Geneva (103rd), University of Lausanne (176th).

Complete ranking can be seen here.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland leads the world in innovation (Partner content)

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