High schools in Bern to require students to bring in laptops
From the end of the school holidays next summer, young people studying at Gymnasium in Canton Bern will be required to bring a laptop to school. The move has not gone down well with parents, who worry about the extra costs involved in purchasing the new equipment.
Laptops to be mandatory in Bernese Gymnasium
According to a report from Nau.ch, people studying in Gymnasium - the education path designed for those who want to attend university straight out of high school - across the canton of Bern will be required to bring a laptop to class from the start of the academic year in 2024. The so-called “bring your own device” or BYOD policy is already in place in Basel, and is currently being debated in Zurich.
The devices they recommend students buy aren’t cheap either. To best help learning in the classroom, authorities in the de-facto capital require the laptops to have an integrated keyboard and be operable with a pen or stylus - Nau.ch estimated that these models cost around 800 francs each.
Parents in Bern worry about the higher cost of education
The policy has not gone down well with parents, with one mother telling the local newspaper Bund that “with such additional expenses, money quickly becomes scarce.” The newspaper added that multiple studies have shown that children of people with higher salaries already do better in school, so the laptop requirement could further exacerbate inequality.
Bund added that the rule could face further scrutiny in the future, with critics arguing that it contradicts Bernese law, which states that lessons in mandatory education should be free of charge and that the “municipality is responsible for purchasing and providing the equipment and apparatus necessary for teaching.”
Pino Mangiarratti, President of the Bern Teaching Union for Education Bern, also called for the rule to be changed, arguing that "education should be free until you get your first degree." He called on the government to provide the laptops itself, instead of leaving it up to families.