Research Cluster "The Future of General Education"

Bild Forschungscluster

Background and Goals of the Research Cluster

The research cluster “The Future of General Education” sees its task in the analysis of transformations in general education in education science. The focus lies on the importance of general education within the context of the formal education system, from primary school to university level. On the one hand, the historical, political, institutional, and education-theoretical conditions of general education are of interest and on the other hand, the changed social expectations regarding goals and possibilities of professional and trans-professional education. In doing so, the newly accented orientation towards action and use as legitimation of the knowledge and abilities that have to be acquired on all education levels plays a central role.

The changes connected to these developments are analyzed from an educational science and a subject-specific teaching perspective.

  1. What does general education mean? Perspectives of educational science, educational theory, and educational policy.
  2. How are the goals and course contents legitimized within the context of formal education?
  3. How is general education conceptualized and realized at different education levels (primary level, secondary level I and II, tertiary education)?
  4. What are reasonable future prospects of general education from an educational science and from an educational policy point of view?


Guest Lectures

How many subjects, what subjects, and where to prioritize? On the importance of general education in secondary schools. Guest lectures of and discussions with Daniel Siegenthaler (head of the EDK project “Weiterentwicklung der gymnasialen Maturität” (“Further Development of the Upper Secondary School-Leaving Certificate”) and Prof. em. Dr. Franz Eberle (University of Zurich).
November 03, 2021, 4.00–6.00 pm (refreshments will be served afterwards)

Module for PhD-Candidates

"What is knowledge? On the rehabilitation of a pedagogical category". On the one hand, the module focuses on basic questions concerning knowledge: What is knowledge? Are there different kinds of knowledge? How does knowledge differ from ability, competence, information, judgment, etc.? On the other hand, questions regarding knowledge in schools are focused: What relevance does knowledge still have today in schools and in formal education? What types of knowledge are dominant at the moment? What types are pushed into the background? How does knowledge of and ignorance about knowledge change the perception of what learning is?
Module coordinators: Prof. Dr. Lucien Criblez; Prof. Dr. Roland Reichenbach.
October 21, November 4 and 18, and December 2, 2021, 4.00–7.00 pm Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion

General knowledge in vocational training, guest lectures with following panel discussion. Spring Semester 2022 (date will be announced).

Research Projects and Research Cooperations

The following selection offers an overview over ongoing research projects that deal with the above mentioned questions:

NAVEG: The Contribution of Natural Sciences Education towards an Advanced Level of Social Maturity
The project analyzes the contribution of natural sciences knowledge and abilities towards an advanced level of social maturity. For this purpose, the knowledge and the abilities required to solve difficult problems in these fields are identified through an analysis of documents and print media as well as through interviews with social leaders.
Principal investigators: Sarah Eberz, M. ed. (key subject 3)

BiZ: Education in Numbers
In the project, statistical data on the history of education is gathered, contextualized, commented upon, and made publicly available ( The data allows to follow up on and analyze the development of the general education and the vocational training schools in a long-term perspective.
Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Lucien Criblez, lic. phil. Stefan Kessler, Lea Zehnder (key subjects 1 and 3)

Political Literacy in the Migration Society
The tri-national SNF project (2018–2021) with the cooperation partners Paul Mecheril (Bielefeld) and Michaela Ralser and Erol Yildiz (Innsbruck) analyzes politically relevant experiences of 14-year-old students in different municipal districts (quarters) in Berlin, Vienna, and Zurich.
Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Roland Reichenbach, Mareike Tillack, MA (key subjects 1 and 4)