Education heads urge continuation of reforms

Educational reforms have enabled students to improve their skills Keystone

Cantonal educational authorities say they are satisfied with Switzerland’s ranking in the 2003 Pisa study, which measured pupils’ skills across 41 countries.

This content was published on December 7, 2004 minutes

They said the general improvement showed that reforms were working and should be continued.

The official findings of the Pisa report for 2003 were released on Tuesday. The report was based on tests carried out among 15-year-olds in OECD countries and other nations.

The cantonal education heads expressed their satisfaction with the good results achieved by Swiss schools in maths, problem solving and science.

Switzerland came seventh for maths, with a score of 527 - well above the average of 500.

In science, Switzerland jumped from 18th to ninth position, with a score of 513 points.

Educational reforms were introduced in Switzerland after the Pisa test in 2000 showed one-fifth of Swiss 15-year-olds had problems understanding a simple text.

Hans Ulrich Stöckling, president of the cantonal educational authorities, said students had improved their performance in the categories tested in the 2000 study.

But he noted that reading ability was still a problem area, with Switzerland stuck in the middle of the rankings.


Stöckling said the school reforms initiated three years ago - such as monitoring of educational standards - were moving in the right direction and must be continued.

He added the improvements in the 2003 Pisa study were mainly due to the efforts of the cantons to improve and maintain quality.

Social background had a lot to do with students’ reading ability, he said.

“Reading ability depends on the students’ environment at home, whereas maths and science are mainly taught at school,” he said.

Stöckling criticised immigration policy, maintaining that unlike in Canada or Australia, immigration had lowered the level of education in Switzerland.

The Swiss teachers’ association argued that Switzerland was not doing enough to counter socio-economic, cultural and gender specific disadvantages.

It said the political will was required to take the necessary steps and to provide the money needed.


Key facts

The 2003 Pisa study showed Swiss students had improved their overall ranking since 2000.
They did particularly well in maths (10th), science (12th) and problem solving (11th).
Students’ reading ability, ranked 13th, had improved slightly.
Cantonal education directors said more reforms were needed to achieve a higher score.

End of insertion

Articles in this story

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?