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Switzerland

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)

*NEWSBITES

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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Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

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