German decline threat to tradition
From now on German is no longer compulsory as a second language in the French-speaking coll ges (for school students aged 15-19).
Students can choose between German and Italian. "We never liked German much anyway," said Ricardo Martinez, a pupil at a Geneva coll ge. "With more freedom, we may be more successful."
The German-speaking Swiss, however, say they are closer to French than Italian culture.
The national curriculum, first tested in 1995, will be fully-operational by 2002, when every Swiss coll ge student will take the final exam for the maturite federale (equivalent of the French baccalaureat). Some might even take it in German.