President's Message about Greek in Switzerland

We are posting a call for signatures to a petition launched by our colleagues in Bern, Switzerland, and circulated by Prof. Thomas Späth, the President of the Swiss Association of Classical Philologists.  As you will see from the message, the canton of Bern is proposing to abolish the study of Greek (and Russian) in high schools.  This is a bad enough step in itself, but if successful it may start a domino effect and make the other cantons consider the abolition of Greek as well.  We thought this was an important petition to draw to your attention, and we urge members to read the message and to consider signing the petition.

Denis Feeney

Liebe KollegInnen,
   vor zehn Tagen ist der "Bericht des Regierungsrates an den Grossen Rat" des Kantons Bern veröffentlicht worden, der unter dem Titel "Angebots- und Strukturüberprüfung" ein allgemeines Sparprogramm vorsieht. Vorgesehen ist unter anderem, dass ab 2014 das Schwerpunktfach Griechisch (und im Übrigen auch das Schwerpunktfach Russisch) an den Berner Gymnasien nicht mehr angeboten werden soll -- mit der Streichung der zwei Fächer will der Regierungsrat nächstes Jahr den lächerlichen Betrag von CHF 100'000 einsparen. Der Grosse Rat wird im kommenden Herbst über diese Vorlage beraten -- es scheint mir aber wichtig, dass wir unmittelbar darauf reagieren. Der Schweizerische Altphilologenverband hat eine Online-Petition lanciert unter "http://www.philologia.ch/bern/" und ich möchte Sie gerne bitten, diese Petition zu unterzeichnen und sie in Ihrem Umfeld bekannt zu machen. Das wird ein erster Schritt sein, dem weitere folgen müssen -- aber ich erinnere gerne daran, dass vor zwei Jahren eine von 17'000 Personen unterzeichnete Petition im Kanton Genf den Lateinunterricht auf der Sekundarstufe erhalten konnte!
   Mit den besten Grüssen
   Thomas Späth

Chères et chers Collègues,
   il y dix jours, le "Rapport du Consel-exécutif au Grand Conseil" du Canton de Berne a été publié ; sous le titre "Examen des offres et des structures", il propose un programme général de réductions budgétaires et prévoit que l'option spécifique du grec (et également celle du russe) dans les lycées bernois soit supprimée à partir de 2014 -- par la suppression des deux langues, le Conseil veut économiser la somme ridicule de CHF 100'000 en 2014. Le Grand Conseil délibérera en automne prochain -- mais il me paraît très important d'y réagir immédiatement. L'Association Suisse des Philologues Classiques a lancé une pétition en ligne sous l'adresse "http://www.philologia.ch/bern/", et j'aimerais bien vous demander de signer cette pétition et de la faire circuler dans votre entourage. Cela pourra être un premier pas et nous aurons à réfléchir à d'autres -- mais rappelons-nous : il y a deux ans, une pétition signée par 17'000 personnes a réussi à sauver le latin dans le secondaire à Genève !
   Avec mes salutations très cordiales
   Thomas Späth

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