Institut Montana Zugerberg
Institut Montana is a Swiss/International boarding and day school located on the Zugerberg, overlooking the city of Zug and its lake. It opened in May 1926 and now takes around 300 boys and girls. Students range across 40 nationalities from age 6 up to their graduation in either the Swiss Matura or the International Baccalaureate.
|Institut Montana Zugerberg|
|Zugerberg in Canton of Zug, Switzerland|
|School type||Private International Boarding School|
|Motto||My Place to Grow|
|Authorizer||Council of International Schools (CIS), Canton of Zug, IBO, Cambridge CIE (IGCSE Programme)|
|Enrollment||~300 (150 boarding students)|
|Student to teacher ratio||1:4|
|School fees||Boarding students CHF 75,000 per annum (varies according to age group)|
Institut Montana was founded by Dr Max Husmann who purchased the site in 1925. The next year the school opened with 6 pupils. The campus was extended with the acquisition of the nearby Hotel Felsenegg in 1937 and the construction of laboratories, workshops, sports fields and a swimming pool. The belief that an international education would contribute towards maintaining peace across Europe guided Montana’s developing pedagogy.
World War II devastated pupil numbers, but the school kept going. In 1945, Dr Husmann was involved in Operation Sunrise, the secret negotiations that led to the surrender of the German Army in northern Italy. He handed the directorship of the school to Dr Josef Ostermayer in 1946, but maintained in close contact and set up the Max Husmann Foundation to ensure the continuation of the principles on which he founded Institut Montana.
In 1995, student enrolment fell to an economically unviable number and the board and senior management announced the school’s imminent closure. However, staff, parents, friends and alumni implemented a rescue plan under the chairmanship of Professor Beat Bernet, and the alumnus François Loeb. Funds of more than CHF3.5 million were raised, ensuring the immediate continuation of the school as well as its sustainable future.
Between the ages of 6 and 10 pupils attend the bilingual (German and English) day school. Boarders are accepted from the age of 10. For students from age 12, Montana offers the Swiss Matura or the International Baccalaureate. Class sizes are kept to a maximum of 15 students and a system of personal mentoring is in place. The site on the pre-alpine Zugerberg is surrounded by meadows and woodland, and an hour away from Zurich.
Students between the ages of 6 and 12 attend the Bilingual Elementary School, where a full language immersion programme in English and German is followed. The curriculum is based on the primary curriculum of the Canton of Zug, adapted to prepare children for entry into the International School, with its International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, or the Swiss Gymnasium for the Swiss Matura. The Swiss Gymnasium at Montana was recognised to award the Swiss Matura by the Canton of Zug in 1936. Students can follow the traditional German or a bilingual course to gain this qualification for entry to Swiss universities. Institut Montana has been an accredited International School since 1952. Students follow the International curriculum through the Foundation Years Programme, study for the IGCSE and then the International Baccalaureate. Montana was the first residential boarding school in Switzerland to become an IB World School in 1987.
Since 2009, Institut Montana offers a Model United Nations programme, the MMUN, where students meet for political debates in a United Nations context on a weekly basis, attend international conferences and annually hosts its own MUN conference. The MUN educates students about global affairs, raises awareness of current issues and enhances their international experience. The MMUN programme is also preparation for university, developing students’ skills in presentation, argumentation and debate.
Further activities offered are the entrepreneurial society, the science club and several sports activities and teams.
Former pupils from Montana are found all over the world filling roles in commerce, politics and the arts. Some names have become famous, including U.S. politician John Kerry, film director Marc Forster, businessman Nicolas Hayek; comic artist Mike van Audenhove; and Dutch scientist and entrepreneur Willem P.C. Stemmer. U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Jackson taught French and English as a foreign language at Institut Montana in 1982.
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