Travel and Personal

Wiriehorn, Bern, Switzerland

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Bern: School and Rules

At present the city parliament is going through the revision of the school statutes. It is a piece of legislation that is supposedly used to guide the implementation of what gets decided at the cantonal and federal levels as to how schools are governed in our town.

From the debate last night, there were only few occasions when you could have guessed what it was that was being decided. There were a lot of words about integration, there was a lot of insinuation about teaching in the local dialect, there was a lot of positioning, there was a lot of intolerance. In short, cantonal elections are coming in a few months, and this is the time for those interested in a seat in the cantonal parliament and now in the city parliament to make a lot of noise. Press, any press is good, as long as your name is in the press you are doing good, content is irrelevant. Provocation and polemic pay off.

That said, we are still not going at the rules. This is a power struggle, and this his how the system of checks and balances works. This is normal. After all the hick hack last night that you can read about in the local fish wrappers today, I had a short discussion with the head of one of the local schools. His comment is that the political process was dragging its feet in getting the regulation into shape. There is an interesting disconnect to be observed here. The people in the front, the school principals and teachers, they have the problems and they need to create the solutions on an on going basis, and they do exactly that. It would be nice if some politicians would bother to think, provided they can think and are not drunk after the dinner break, and gave the real issues some consideration instead of venting their bent up aggressions at the podium. Politics is far from rational. If you think this system is based on rationality, think again.

It works because there are indeed some others who bother to think. Not everybody is in it just to satisfy his or her exhibitionist impulses. I have seen colleagues at the Stadtrat from both the right and the left doing some real thinking and trying to serve the community. At the end of the day, it works, but it works because school principals and teachers make it work.

Next thursday the debate continues.


photo, originally uploaded by trafal.