Education & Profession

Defined goal of many coercive welfare measures was to “educate” or “re-educate” for work. For a long time, social advancement due to good education was not foreseen. The promotion of individual fortes often came up short. However, those who got promoted had a better starting position later in their professional life.

© Our Faces – Our Stories, 2022

A Career Was Not Intended

Work was often in the foreground during administrative detention or placement in care. Therefore, many children and adolescents experienced a disadvantage regarding their school education. Their talents were hardly promoted.

For a long time, their possibilities of education were limited and only unskilled work in agriculture or housekeeping was open to them. In comparison to adolescents who did not grow up in foster care, these young persons faced a disadvantage. To make up for what they had missed and to be able to lead a self-determined professional life, those affected later had go to great lengths. ...

Individual Support Often Had to Take a Back Seat

To choose one own’s professional path was for persons who were placed in care not a given fact for a long time. Instead, their choice was very limited and furthermore adhered to rigid gender roles that only slowly were softening.

Front page of a printed leaflet from the reform facility for girls “Anstalt vom Guten Hirten” from 1914.

For a long time, the upbringing and education of girls was equivalent to preparing them for a life as housewife and mother, even though in reality many families were dependent on a second income. For instance, the leaflet from the reform facility for girls “vom Guten Hirten” around 1914 also promoted the strict education within a specific gender role – prominently placed on the front page. To be sure, the leaflet emphasised that the young women were promoted according to their abilities. However, to secure the funding of this home, ”the main part [of the young women] are used for manual labour”. This immediately put the previous statement into perspective.

Disadvantages in Old Age

Disadvantages in education can affect not only the later working life but also the pension: they increase the risk of old-age poverty.

Illustration of the three-pillar principle in Switzerland.

The Swiss pension system is based on three pillars: old-age and survivor’s insurance (1st pillar), occupational pension (2nd pillar), private pension (3rd pillar).

The AHV depends on the number of years somebody paid in. Contribution gaps lead to a partial pension. Each missing contribution year entails a reduction of approx. 2.3 percent. The maximum pension of currently 2,390 Swiss francs per month requires an average yearly income of slightly more than 86,000 Swiss francs. The minimum pension amounts to 1,195 Swiss francs. If a pension is not enough to live on, supplementary benefits can be applied for. Many of those affected do not do so – out of fear to be dependent on the state again.

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