Tribune de Genève.
Travelling outside the school holidays might be a good way to beat the crowds and save money however the DIP, Geneva’s department of education (Département de l’instruction publique) thinks it’s a poor way to ensure children get a proper education. Pierre-Antoine Preti, head of DIP’s communications told the Tribune de Genève that “while we don’t have any statistics available, we can generalise, that low cost flights in particular are driving pupil absenteeism outside school holidays”.
From the beginning of this school year parents who take unjustified or unapproved absence from school risk fines. Fining is not new. Five years ago fines were issued to parents for the unjustified or unauthorised absence of secondary school children. Since then however the practice has not been used. The DIP decided to reactivate the system at the start of this 2015 school year and announced their intention to teachers. The focus is on curbing truancy at primary school and the first phase of high school – children from 5 to 15 years of age.
Fines as high as 1,200 francs
The first offense will attract a fine of 150 francs, the second 350 francs, and the third 1,200 francs. Administrative charges of 10 to 30 francs will then be added on top of the fine. The money will go the the canton and not to the school and fines will only be issued by school management after careful analysis. The procedure is intended as a last resort explained Pierre-Antoine Preti.
The Geneva teachers’ union SPG (Société pédagogique genevoise) and parent teacher associations are not convinced fines will work. They think that dialogue between parents and schools is key and hope the new system will be used sensibly.
Other cantons use the same measures
Geneva is not alone in using fines. Vaud, Neuchatel, Fribourg and a number of Swiss-German cantons also issue fines for unjustified or unapproved school absence.
Full article on Tribune de Genève (in French)