Projet EduTrans



Transnationalisation of Swiss private Education
EduTrans is a research project financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation that looks at the expansion of Swiss private education in international contexts. Three recent developments contributed to the topic’s emerging appeal: the expansion of the private sector at all levels of education; the increased mobility of highly skilled migrants; and the growing internationalization and standardization of education. Since the 1990s, private schools increasingly expanded into “transnational social spaces” within which persons, as well as social and educational processes circulate across the borders of nations.

This process manifests in mobility of teachers and students, in the expansion of schools in international contexts, in philanthropic education and exchange programs worldwide, in global curricula, and in the spread of alternative pedagogical ideas and practices internationally. So far, little attention has been devoted to teachers and pedagogical practices in such transnational settings; especially the primary and secondary levels have largely been ignored. This project aims at filling these gaps by focusing on Swiss private schools and their ramifications worldwide, thus illustrating, from the perspective of teachers and institutions, how private schools constitute alternatives to public education that transcend state boundaries.

Three key issues will be studied: the processes of internationalisation of private schools; their impact on education itself; and the practices and trajectories of teachers within transnational educational spaces. Research will include interviews with teachers and staff, as well as participant observation in private schools in Switzerland and other schools linked to Swiss education in North America (Toronto, Chicago) and East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya).

This research will offer innovative insights at various levels. It will address social and political transformations in the contemporary world by documenting how teachers and schools, find their ways across boundaries of nation-states. It will also improve the understanding of the educational implications of these processes in Switzerland while developing resources for the public sector by uncovering practices and assessing migrations entailed in transnational educational spaces. Likewise, it will help to understand the personal, professional and social issues faced by education professionals in the private sector and contribute to identify their needs.

Dr. Jeanne Rey, principal investigator,
Dr. Matthieu Bolay, Researcher,
Dr. Yonatan Gez, associate researcher:
Elisabeth Schubiger, research assistant: