Following in the footsteps of Thurgau, the canton of Zug is looking at a plan to remove French from the primary school curriculum. The argument is the same: language learning overload.
Choosing to learn English as a second language makes sound practical sense in an increasingly global world, however in Switzerland it is not that simple. Switzerland, a country with four national languages (German, French, Italian and Romanche), has to juggle the practical benefits of learning English with the benefits that come from learning the languages of fellow Swiss.
In addition, German-speaking Swiss don’t speak regular High German as a first language. 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 a second language for them is in effect their third.
In 2014, the parliament of the canton of Thurgau approved a similar plan only to later drop it my a narrow voting majority. Some time later the parliament of Nidwalden, another German-speaking Swiss canton, voted against a similar initiative on the grounds it would impact on national cohesion. SVP/UDC Nidwalden’s response was that teaching Swiss history would do more for national unity than teaching French.
Zug’s government has one year to present its plan to its legislature who will debate it and come to a decision.