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Swiss canton to introduce classes in English in bid to counter private schools

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Swiss canton to introduce classes in English in bid to counter private schools
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Secondary schools in the Swiss canton of Schwyz are set to be the first in central Switzerland to introduce bilingual German and English classes.

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The move has been made to counter the competition from private schools.
 
On Wednesday, the Great Council of Schwyz - the cantonal parliament - approved the move, despite opposition from the cantonal government, the Social Democrats and the Swiss People’s Party. 

The vote total was 65 for the measure, with 29 voting against. 

The bilingual classes will be available to students who will later go on to study at a Mittelschule/Gymnasium, the secondary school track which prepares students in Switzerland for university study. 

While it is the first time that bilingual education in English has been offered in central Switzerland - the name given to the central region which includes the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Lucerne and Zug - it is not the first time in the country. 

A similar programme has been introduced on the wealthy Lake Zurich riviera, which received positive reviews and was popular. 

One of the major reasons for doing so was to counter competition from private schools, many of which have offered lessons in English for years. 

The programme was also encouraged to provide more options for development to gifted students in the region. 

The Schwyz government opposed the changes, saying it was not necessary and argued that it wasn’t the job of state schools to compete with their private counterparts. 

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