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Nonformal Education

In 2001 there does not yet exist a Swiss academic institution of distance learning or an Open University. However, a limited number of technology and distant learning classes were inaugurated in summer 2000. These are subsidized by the Confederation. Because of the small size of the country, the great density of universities, and the multilinguistic nature of Switzerland, it is unlikely that a distance learning university will become a reality in the near future. Switzerland is characterized by great diversity. It contains 26 cantons, each responsible for its own educational system and three major languages. There are, however, contacts to Open Universities of other European countries, which have led to the establishment of study centers, including the German Fern University Hagen in Brigue and the British Open University in Geneva.

In addition there are also a number of activities on the Internet that are related to education. The Center for Continuing Education at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) provides up-to-date information about all the opportunities in continuing education. "EduETH," the education server of the ETH Zurich, provides a platform to exchange subject matter and information for secondary students. Most elementary and secondary schools in Switzerland have access to computers and the Internet.

Nonuniversity continuing education plays a very important role in Switzerland. Approximately 28,000 individuals were enrolled in a nonuniversity course in 1992/93, which is about a quarter of the population of the relevant age group. Many of these courses are offered at the FH/HES. Adult education is recognized as an integral part of the educational system in Switzerland and is promoted by the Confederation, the cantons, and the municipalities. However, it is financed and run mainly by private educational organizations. Public facilities such as courses for parents, adult education classes, and advanced education are supplemented by the services provided by club schools and groups allied to churches, trade unions, or political parties. The Swiss Association for Adult Education comprises approximately 30 coordinating and individual organizations. Because adult education is not a university subject, there is little research available on this topic. Available statistics indicate that approximately 40 percent of the working population is engaged in specialized professional adult education.

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceSwitzerland - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education