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“Internet for Schools” initiative

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 junior schools as part of the intercantonal HARMOS concordat to take their first steps into the digital world. Swisscom 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 2016 (6,020 schools), as the consolidation of schools in many areas continued – often as a result of mergers between municipalities. However, the demand on the part of schools for broadband Internet rose sharply, and participating schools increasingly took advantage of 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.

To meet the increasing demands of schools that are not yet benefiting from the expansion of the terrestrial fibre-optic network, the company is now offering schools connections via the mobile network. Like other school connections, these connections can be integrated into the respective education network and its underlying central security solution.

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)
  • 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
  • Teacher training colleges

The Swiss Education Days took place in Berne from 8–10 November 2016. They are the successor event of Didacta, which was previously held in Basel every two years by the Worlddidac Association. The change of location to Berne was made for strategic reasons and is intended to promote the inclusion of Western Switzerland. Swisscom has been a partner of the trade fair since 2006 and provides a platform at the centre of the exhibition grounds within the scope of the Swisscom Arena for presentations, discussions, speeches and shows. The Swisscom Arena is further evidence of the company’s solidarity with the Swiss education system.

Education Sponsorship Charter

The Association of Swiss Teachers (LCH) used the Swiss Education Days in November to present their charter on the sponsorship, promotion and funding of public education by private providers. The charter was drawn up in cooperation with various stakeholders from the education sector and with representatives from the private sector. It aims to support school directors and teaching staff in evaluating sponsorship services offered by private sector partners. The charter does not deem it appropriate, for instance, if schoolchildren are used as advertising space or if the use of user data is not made transparent or is not in accordance with a canton’s legal requirements. Swisscom was one of the first companies to sign this charter. It considers it a legitimate concern to proceed with caution when towing the delicate line between the public sector and private business partners/sponsors. At the same time, it wants to serve as a role model for other companies through the work it does. The visibility of the Swisscom brand should thus primarily boost identification and foster transparency. At no point will Swisscom use data for external purposes that was previously acquired for administration purposes only or within the scope of sponsorship activities. Accordingly, it does not employ aggressive advertising measures in schools.