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Zurich Experiments With 'Black List' To Add Security To Teacher Hiring

A new system is being used in Zurich to avoid potentially dangerous teachers from being hired which aims to keep certain profiles permanently barred from the profession.

Keeping classrooms and hallways safe (Wootang01)
Keeping classrooms and hallways safe (Wootang01)


ZURICH - For the first time, Zurich's Department of Education has checked a "black list" to see if the names of any of its new teachers are on it. Though none were, the existence of this list that alerts schools to those considered unfit to teach -- including both convicted child abusers, ordinary criminals and consistently difficult employees -- has raised questions in Switzerland.

The first check in Zurich was carried out at the beginning of this school year on an experimental basis by the Bern-based national Swiss Conference of Cantonal Departments of Education. Routinely checked are teachers whose CVs show lapses in job continuity, said Zurich school board chief Martin Wendelspiess. "If there are ‘holes' in the CV, and the candidate says something like they spent two years learning yoga in India, we check to try and establish if that's true or if it's covering something up."

Wendelspiess added that education authorities were routinely informed by the national conference if criminal proceedings for child abuse were opened against a teacher. But alleged sexual abusers are not the only ones on the list – the name of any teacher convicted in court, or who repeatedly shirks duties and violates acceptable professional conduct, will be placed on the list which bans them from teaching.

Most of the banned teachers were involved in the sexual abuse of children, although one was banned for blackmail.

Blacklisted teachers have the possibility after a few years to apply for reinstatement, though that happens seldom in practice since most banned teachers go on to pursue careers in other areas.

There are presently 32 Zurich teachers on the national black list. Names are removed from the list when people reach retirement age or if they are reinstated.

Read the full story in German by Lucienne-Camille Vaudan

Photo - Wootang01

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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