The first International Baccalaureate in Valais
Ecole Montani is the first school in Valais to have been given authorization to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. To become an IB World School, Ecole Montani, one of the leading private schools in Sion that was founded in 1965, created a division called Lemania College Sion that successfully passed all stages of the IB authorization process.
An international diploma of this kind was lacking in Valais, a region which has been drawing more and more international activity and professionals, as well as foreign families attracted by the quality of life and natural beauty of the area. These are establishing either primary or secondary residences. The fact that the programme is also available to boarders is important to families residing abroad and in search of quality international education for their children.
The first semester of the two year IB (grades 11 and 12) programme began in the fall of 2013 at Lemania College, which offers both day school and boarding school options. The first IB preparatory one or two year programme, also offered at Lemania College, got underway in 2012. “The IB Diploma is open not only to students in the region but also to those nationwide and abroad who are looking for an education in English either outside the country or in Swiss universities,” says David Claivaz Diploma Programme Coordinator at Lemania College Sion.
For more than 40 years, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme has prepared students from all over the world to enter universities. “To date, the IB Organization works with 3,545 schools in 144 countries to offer four educational programs to more than 1,086,000 students,” says Pascal Ashkar, mathematician, educator, consultant and in charge of the IB at Lemania College, Sion. In 2012, the IB prepared over 120,000 candidates from more than 2,000 schools worldwide for the Diploma.
With the new IB Diploma (grade 11 and 12), and the IB preparatory programme, Ecole Montani has added one more quality option to its existing French and German sections, from grade 5 to 10.
Ecole Montani and the Lemania College belong to the Lemania Group, the leading Suisse Romande educational group that also owns Ecole des Buissonnets in Sion. Buissonnets is a pillar of private education in Valais, and prepares students for the Swiss Maturité as well as the French Baccalaureate high school diplomas. Les Boissonnets, based in Sierre since 1928, has recently joined Ecole Montani, and together with the Lemania College is located on a single 6,500m2 campus in Sion. On this campus, coined Le CAMPVS, students can now choose between three internationally recognized high school degrees: the French Baccalaureate, the Swiss Maturité and the International Baccalaureate.
Thanks to Lemania Group’s strong presence in Valais, a long-term partnership was signed between Lemania College and Vatel Hospitality School Switzerland, which is part of a global group of thirty hospitality schools worldwide. Since 2010, the Vatel Hospitality school in Martigny has been preparing students for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Hospitality Management, both in French and in English.
This partnership will allow Lemania College IB students to follow interdisciplinary tourism and hospitality workshops throughout the year on the Vatel campus in Martigny as part of the IB Diploma programme, offering courses such as tourism and economic development, reception and communication.
The fact that Lemania College is part of Le Campvs allows school to take into account the diverse backgrounds and future plans of its IB students. The school has implemented a combination of courses required for entry into Swiss universities. For example, although the IB programme is in English, the school encourages students who wish to enrol at the University of Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg, or Neuchâtel, to take French as a foreign language. Also, although Lemania College Sion is located in the French speaking part of Switzerland, German-speaking students can choose German as their main language. Depending on their level of English, they can choose French or English as a second language. All other subjects are taught in English.
Non-English speakers can choose their native language as their main language and depending on their level of English, can choose French or English as a second language. All other subjects are taught in English.
Part of the bigger Valais Education Hub experience
International education options, such as those proposed by Lemania College, Vatel, Switzerland and other institutions that are due to begin their operations in Valais within the near future, are working toward making Valais more attractive for international businesses seeking alternatives to the cantons of Geneva or Vaud. In part, this comes in response to growing housing and security problems, but experience shows that the development of international education in a region contributes significantly to the improvement of framework conditions for its economic development as well.
“This development is supported by townships and the canton of Valais, which acknowledges its strategic value for the economic future of the canton,” says Jean-Marie Cleusix Secretary General of the Department of Education and Security in Valais.
Other projects of private international schools in English in Valais include:
– The Regent Crans-Montana College, which will begin operations in 2015
– The Valais International School in Vex, near Sion, due to open in September 2014
– Verbier International School
– Three other international school projects (two in Bas-Valais and one in Haut-Valais) are also being discussed.
For more information on the Lemania college Sion, visit: