Canton Zug, 16.05.2024

Signatures being collected against the proposed Cantonal School entrance examination

The legislative initiative opposing an examination for a transfer to the long-term grammar school has been launched. 2,000 signatures will thereby need to be collected. There is a lot of support: a further committee will be set up soon.

As former Zug city councillor and Head of Education, and current cantonal councillor Vroni Straub puts it, the planned introduction of a transfer examination (Kantiprüfung) for the long-term grammar school (Langzeitgymnasium) is tantamount to a paradigm shift. She is chairing the committee that is in favour of retaining the transfer without an examination, together with Marcel Güntert, mayor (Gemeindepräsident) of Oberägeri.

The committee now includes around 25 representatives, made up from Zug's teaching staff and the business community, politicians from the FDP, Centre, GLP, CSP, ALG and SP parties, education experts and parent representatives.

The collection of signatures for a legislative initiative has now begun, and the initiators must collect 2,000 signatures; there is no time limit. "Our aim is to collect the signatures by the summer holidays," explains Vroni Straub. The committee can count on a great deal of co-operation, and a supporting committee with a further thirty to forty interested parties will be set up soon.

Joint campaigns to collect signatures are therefore not planned for the time being: the existing networks will be used. Vroni Straub adds: "Collecting signatures always involves a special effort". That is why there will be a briefing at the beginning of June. An additional platform has thereby been created with a dedicated website.

Pupils should still be able to attend the long-term grammar school at Kanti Zug without an entrance exam.                 Photo: Stefan Kaiser

Tests can be part of the process
If 2,000 valid signatures can be collected, there will be a referendum. In this case, the initiative committee has opted for a so-called ‘formulated draft’, in which the wording of the proposed new provisions has already been set out.

This states: Paragraph 1 new: The transfer from a Zug public school (primary school, secondary school) and from a Zug public school recognised by the Directorate of Education (primary school, secondary school) to a cantonal school is free of examinations. In the absence of an agreement between the legal guardians and the referring school, an aptitude test may be carried out.

And paragraph 2 new: In other cases, such as transfers from public or private secondary schools outside the canton or transfers from private secondary schools in Zug, admission can be made dependent on passing an aptitude test.

The initiative committee has been active since it became known that the Zug Education Council (Bildungsrat), under pressure from the cantonal council, wanted to add an examination to the corresponding transfer procedure for the long-term grammar school. The consultation period for the revised transfer regulations runs until the end of September.

The transfer to the Cantonal School after the 2nd or 3rd secondary school would remain examination-free. The Education Council was of the opinion that additional control was needed, among other things to ensure that the different educational pathways could co-exist.

The initiative committee argued, however, that the current transfer procedure works perfectly well. "In addition, the introduction of an examination at a long-term grammar school will not solve the problem of the shortage of skilled labour in the commercial professions," reads the press release on the launch of the signature collection. The initiators fear that, on the one hand, the route via public schools will be chosen and, on the other, a "tutoring industry", such as that found in the canton of Zurich, could develop.

"With such a major change, we think it is important that the population has a say and that it is not simply left to the education council," explains Vroni Straub.