There are currently 18 Swiss schools recognized by the Swiss government. Two of them are in Brazil, one in São Paulo and one in Curitiba.
The first Swiss schools were founded in Italy by parents who wanted to give their children a Protestant education in Catholic Italy. Another group of schools opened in Germany during the 1930s, when education often followed the National Socialist ideology. The foundation of the Swiss-Brazilian schools first occurred during the 1960s.
These schools were established for the Swiss communities residing together from Swiss companies such as “BBC” (now “ABB”), “Nestle”, “Ciba-Geigy”, “Sandoz” (both now “Novartis”), «Eternit». At that time, many Swiss executives and engineers worked on temporary contracts for these companies. The children of those recognized as “Swiss contractors” were assured a Swiss education and reintegration into their home school system upon their return to Switzerland.
Parents have always been concerned with providing holistic education widespread in Switzerland, education focused on maturity and autonomy, democratic education through action-oriented learning and freedom from personal bias, political opinion and gender. They counted on the participation of all the members of the school community and with the high quality of teaching and the high level of professionalism.
In 1963, the Swiss-Brazilian School of Rio de Janeiro was founded as the first Swiss school in Brazil. The first building of the school was a private building with a large garden, which soon became too small. The school has changed its location several times as well as its legal formation. In the meantime, the Swiss-Brazilian School in Rio became part of the “Swiss International Schools” – a privately held company. In 2011, “SIS Brasilia” was inaugurated.
The Swiss-Brazilian School of São Paulo was then founded in 1966. It is still considered one of the best Swiss schools in the world. It was built quickly at its current location in a quiet and green residential area of the upper middle class in the Alto da Boa Vista neighborhood.
Another Swiss school was founded in 1980 in the middle of the city of Curitiba (southern Brazil), the Swiss-Brazilian School of Curitiba. A determining factor for the establishment of the school was the construction project of the old dam in Itaipu, which led to an intensification of the industrialization of Curitiba and thus attracted a number of Swiss businessmen with the “Swiss contractor” status. The school is now situated in a green and quiet location in Pinhais, part of the municipality of Curitiba and is one of the few international schools in Curitiba.
The Swiss schools of São Paulo and Curitiba are seen as schools of cultural encounter. In this way, they always want to combine Switzerland’s strengths with Brazil’s strengths, which contributes to the formation of citizens responsible for a globalized world.