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China's first Swiss school opens in Beijing

By ZHAO XINYING | | Updated: 2017-10-30 17:00

The Swiss School Beijing, the first in China supported by the Swiss government, officially opened on Monday.

Built on the grounds of the Western Academy of Beijing, an international school founded in 1994, the school offers a German-language education based on the Swiss curriculum, according to its president, Barbara Staeuble.

In its inaugural year, the school will offer a kindergarten as well as grades one and two. In addition to German, students are also taught Chinese, English and French.

Staeuble said the school's textbooks, teacher training and quality assurance come from the Canton of Zurich, which has a long history of cultural and economic ties with China.

The Swiss curriculum emphasizes a holistic and multilingual education, where children are at the center of the learning process and the focus is on developing academic knowledge as well as creative, sporting and social skills, she said.

Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Swiss ambassador to China, said at the opening ceremony that the school offers a unique window into the Swiss education system, which has contributed significantly to Switzerland's present-day ranking as the most innovative country in the world.

"Switzerland has no raw materials to speak of. Our most important 'natural resource' is education," he said. "The Swiss economy is not driven by mass production, but by the development and creation of high-quality goods.

"This means that the economy needs a steady supply of well-educated and skilled workers. Thanks to the Swiss education system, ours is one of the most stable and competitive economies in the world," he said.

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