Visit by Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga

Vocational School Schaffhausen

On August 22, 2013, Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga visited the integration project at the vocational school Schaffhausen. Federal Councilor Sommaruga leads the Federal Department of Justice and Police, including the Office for Migration, which is responsible for integration issues. According to the Aliens Act, integration programs are funded by the state and cantons.

Vocational Schools are a Place of Integration

Swiss schools deal with integration issues on a daily basis. Therefore, the Hirschmann Foundation and the Swiss Conference of Vocational School Directors (CSD) believe that vocational schools are an appropriate place to conduct public Integration programs that are in accordance with the Aliens Act. There is no other place where public financial means for integration work are to be employed more targeted and effectively.

Experience and Competence

The project that is conducted by the Hirschmann Foundation was implemented in 2008. Ever since, many vocational schools have introduced integration projects that were designed and put into practice by teachers and students themselves. The focus has not been to teach students the theories of integration, but to make them understand it first hand through a common experience or a common goal.

After the completion of over 50 projects, there is a great wealth of experience. The CSD has summarized and documented all the important results and insights, so that all the vocational schools can draw their benefits. At many schools, teachers have already specialized in the area.

Dialogue and Commitment

Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga was able to get an insight into a specific project on August 22, 2013 at the vocational school Schaffhausen. She directly entered into a dialogue with the students. The latter in turn took the opportunity to tell the Federal Councilor about their experiences and to ask her questions.

The teachers‘ commitment has been especially impressive. Teachers – as well as students – appreciate the great freedom of design. It motivates them to develop new ideas and put them into practice.

Future Perspectives

The Hirschmann Foundation and the CSD thank Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga for her commitment to integration issues. The project at the vocational school Schaffhausen serves as an impulse and a sample of how public financial means are best employed to support integration at an existing institution.