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“Internet for Schools” initiative

Digital media are becoming ever more important in Swiss schools. Swisscom has been making a substantial contribution to the Swiss education system since 2002; initially as part of the government’s “Internet for Schools” initiative (2002–2007) and since 2008 through its own “Internet for Schools” initiative and in consultation with the relevant public bodies. The “Internet for Schools” initiative is a response to the increased needs of schools and cantons, which is why the range of services is constantly being expanded. Thanks to its commitment, all primary and secondary schools in Switzerland already benefit from a broadband Internet connection. For some years, the initiative has also been helping nursery schools being integrated into primary schools as part of the intercantonal HARMOS concordat to take their first steps into the digital world. Swisscom thus aims to work together with schools, cantons and federal offices to create an efficient and sustainable architecture for the future ICT landscape of the Swiss education system.

The number of schools benefiting from the “Internet for Schools” initiative declined slightly in 2015 (5,808 schools), as the consolidation of schools in many municipalities continued in the reporting year – owing in particular to the wave of mergers of municipalities in Switzerland. However, the need by schools for broadband Internet increased sharply and participating schools benefitted more and more often from the digitisation opportunities in the classroom during the year under review. The number of pupils and teachers involved in the initiative remained unchanged.

As the cost of a secure, high-performance infrastructure has grown continuously in recent years, by agreement with the cantons, schools are now contributing to the costs of security solutions such as firewalls and content filters on a user-pays basis. For example, the costs per school for security services for a copper-based connection amount to CHF 780 per year, although Internet access is free.

Schools are now running ICT infrastructures on an increasingly more professional scale. This raises the question of what a school or canton should do itself and what could be outsourced. This is why Swisscom has developed an information portfolio specifically for schools that offers information on the needs schools typically have and that is geared towards meeting the cantons’ requirements. Swisscom knows there is a limit to schools’ finances and offers schools heavily discounted pricing models as it wants to continue its efforts to promote education.

See www.swisscom.ch/​sai
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Swisscom has added various educational institutions to the network over the past few years, enabling it to recognise the needs of schools early on during the ICT integration process. Swisscom cultivates its network through dialogue and events, in particular with the following institutions:

  • Education server educa and the Swiss education server educanet
  • Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK)
  • Conference held by the Swiss Office for Information Technology in Education (SFIB)
  • Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM)
  • Swiss Foundation for Audiovisual Teaching Media (SSAB)
  • Swiss Association of Teachers (LCH)
  • Union of French-speaking Teachers (SER)
  • Intercantonal Conference of Public Education (CIIP)
  • Worlddidac Association
  • Various teacher training colleges and universities