Swiss students will soon be yammering in three officially
sanctioned languages--but the question is, which ones? At the recently
held annual Conference of Education Directors in Berne, academics from
all of Switzerland's 26 cantons agreed that pupils should initially
be introduced to a foreign language starring at the third-grade level
and commence studying a second foreign tongue in the fifth grade. But
the group's opinions diverged on the issue of whether English--the
predominant language in the international business community--should be
taught first, so the final decision is being put on ice until November.
Nevertheless, the conference was adamant in ensuring that all Swiss
students can fluently confabulate in at least two of the country's
four official languages. And the issue of adopting English as the
nation's lingua franca is now a foregone conclusion.