The parliament of Nidwalden rejected the initiative ahead of the vote on the grounds it would negatively impact national cohesion and advised voters to vote against the proposal.
Some of those in favour argued that German-speaking Swiss don’t speak regular High German. They speak one of a number of dialects of Swiss German while reading and writing in High German. At school they must learn High German before learning another language so their second language is in effect their third, so learning English and French on top overburdens primary school students.
French-speaking Swiss have been upset by moves in Swiss-German speaking cantons to delay the teaching of French at school and will be relieved by this result.
Similar initiatives have been launched in a number of other Swiss-German speaking cantons, however Nidwalden’s was the first to reach the voting stage. At this stage it is unclear if this vote has set a precedent.
No French please, we’re Swiss.. (Le News – March 15)
Are Swiss language divisions increasing? (Le News – May 2014)
Only the young can master a new language – myth or reality? (Le News – December 2014)
French-speaking Swiss, the UDC loves you! (Tribune de Genève)
Nidwalden – vote to end French at school (Le Matin)