• Sweden's news in English
 

Agency slams immigrant language class failings

Published: 29 Dec 2011 09:30 GMT+01:00

“It's regrettable that municipalities don't prioritize the possibility for new arrivals to start their education as soon as possible,” Erica Sahlin, a project leader with the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen), said in a statement.

“The sooner one can start with Swedish, the easier it is for one to get established both in the labour market and in society in general.”

Around half of the 39 municipalities recently reviewed by the agency suffered from one shortcoming or another when it came to their ability to offer new arrivals a place in Swedish language classes specifically designed for immigrants.

According to Sweden's establishment reform laws, which came into force about a year ago and are designed to help ease immigrants' transition into Swedish society, newly arrived refugees should have the option of beginning Swedish language studies within one month of applying for a spot in Swedish for immigrants (Svenskundervisning för invandrare – SFI) language classes.

Municipalities are also urged to cooperate with local employment offices in order to allow immigrants to combine their studies with work or other measures meant to help them enter the job market more quickly.

In addition, Sweden's school law also stipulates that other immigrants should be able to start languages classes within three months of being registered as a resident in a given municipality.

But the inspectorate found that eight of the 39 municipalities it reviewed failed to offer new arrivals a spot in Swedish language classes within one month.

Eight municipalities also failed to abide by the three month time limit called for by the schools law.

Common reasons for municipalities' failure to abide to the time limits included office closures during the summer holidays or the fact that classes were only started a few times a year.

Swedish language class enrollment could also be delayed because students' children were unable to start preschool due to a lack of available spots.

The agency also criticized 12 municipalities for haphazard management of their Swedish for immigrants programme and the fact that information about SFI is often only publicized in Swedish.

“Municipalities are obligated to ensure that those who have a right to enroll in SFI quickly get information about it; they should understand that it's a real possibility and that it's not something one should have to struggle to get information about,” Sahlin told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Related links:

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

10:16 December 29, 2011 by johan rebel
Oh, for crying out loud! Anybody knows that the best way to learn a language is thorugh immersion. Well, if you have "fled" to Sweden the opportunities for immersion are limitless. If you prefer to lock up your womenfolk 24/7 with only Al Jazeera for company, then no amount of SFI will help.
10:32 December 29, 2011 by AHA
A wise man, in the 4th century, said: "WHEN IN ROME DO AS THE ROMANS DO". That included, be active and learn their language. Otherwise you´ll have only yourself to blame.
10:50 December 29, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
As an immigrant, I took it upon myself to learn Swedish, make Swedish friends, etc. Plenty of books, internet resources, etc. to learn the language. Problem is there is lack of economic incentive for immigrants to learn Swedish. The government provides housing, food, money, etc. so why learn a language to enable you to work?
10:56 December 29, 2011 by icedearth
@ johan .........................
11:40 December 29, 2011 by Tamm O'Shanter
I began learning Swedish BEFORE I came over, taking private lessons

I did look at the SFI courses but honestly thought they were amateurish (in my area anyway) - with frequent checks in progress because new arrivals to the class meant we had to re-cover stuff already done. In the end I left and, like bourgeoisieboheme, took it on myself to learn more.

A big help is to take out a subscription to a quality Swedish newspaper, and get a dictionary !!
11:54 December 29, 2011 by eabos
Just about all Swedish websites need work to make them better for non swedish speakers. Most of them if they do have a translated page it is only the home page and that is it, including SFI who cannot even put up a page with there location and a little bit of info on signing up in my local area. This can make traveling thrrough sweden difficult as well so therefore losing out on tourism dollars.

It is true some immigrants do not seem to want to be immersed into the society here which is a shame but there is still plenty of work to do to make it easier for those that do.
12:18 December 29, 2011 by flintis
What a load of old bull, if they wanted to learn the lingo they would, just the same as if they were willing to integrate.
12:54 December 29, 2011 by shinnam
The SFI program needs to be overhauled. Right now it ia a waste tax money. It should be ran through immigration, not through the communes. If one speaks English there is little incentive to learn Swedish.Part of getting one's permanent residency should be to pass a Swedish B test, not just offer 10,000 SEK . One of the other problems with the SFI classes is that it has been privatized to the lowest bidders. Myself and others have experienced an SFI classes with 35+ students, no book and eight different teachers that didn't communicate with other teachers. On the other hand I am now attending SFI ran by Stockholm City, that is pedagogically sound well organized.

For those who commented that immersion being the best way to learn a language, that is a myth that has been well researched. Just goggle it. Yes, one does learn phrases and a good deal of slang, but grammar pronunciation mistakes become fossilized when in immersion. To this day, I have to stop my self from ordering Ja-Chi bimbim bap verses Jam-chi bimbim bap at a Korean restaurant ( penis rice verses tuna rice) as this mistake went uncorrected for the first 3 months of a ten year stay in Korea. I didn't learn the difference until I formally studied the language. Here, when ever I try to speak Swedish I don't corrected, the cashier at 7-11 just wants to take care of the next customer.

If the government of Sweden wants to encourage immigrants to learn Swedish they must re-vamp a system that has not done well with privatization and provide

real incentives to learn Swedish.
13:01 December 29, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
In response to eabos, I think it might be better if the swedish websites were NOT translated as it would force people to learn Swedish which is obviously what needs to be done. When I lived in France I HAD to learn French as there was no translations and people didn't speak english so it helped push me to learn quickly.
13:56 December 29, 2011 by godnatt
Many can't spell their name in their own language. Why would you expect them to learn this one?
14:05 December 29, 2011 by pb01
I must say that the system is flawed.

I came to Sweden with a job, and my partner has now been looking for work for over 4 months. All expect you to speak fluent Swedish.

We started in one kommun where it took around 2 months for the staff to finally offer a place. We moved to a rental in the next kommun 2 weeks later, and they will not start a new course until January 9th. So in total the kommuns have held up the SFI classes by over 4 months = no job, no wages, weeks of frustration.

The aim is to obtain a job and contribute to the local society, and unless businesses have intentions to hire non Swedish speaking nationals, then the language system requires a serious revamp. Perhaps some serious textbooks might be a good start instead of leaving it to commercial publishers with few takers.
14:35 December 29, 2011 by bourgeoisieboheme
Rosetta Stone has Swedish language program that is excellent, same program the US dept. of State uses to train foreign officers.
18:29 December 29, 2011 by Grokh
in sfi it was almost easier to learn arabic since it was the language i heard most.

no such thing as immersion or assimilation there, just a basic integration.
18:30 December 29, 2011 by fikatid
SFI should separate students according to their educational background. When you mix highly educated students with people with less education, it makes the learning so difficult. Not everyone has the same learning speed. Placement test doesn't do too much either as most new immigrants do not have any Swedish language background. Separating students by their education level would be better in that sense. It doesn't fix all issues but at least, it would be an improvement. Just imagine putting a student with university degree with someone who works in a farm all their lives in the same class. It won't help anyone.
20:10 December 29, 2011 by L.A.
The web offer a lot of free language courses EN-to-SE... is just the matter of looking for them instead waiting to be served on a silver plate... God Jul!
20:21 December 29, 2011 by Douglas Garner
I really like Shinnan's comments and ditto most of them.

Our SFI program in Gävle is pretty well staffed and managed, but there are so many things that COULD be done to make it better. More integration with native speakers, mentoring sessions, conseling in native language regarding study and work options, more work study opportunities, more extracurricular activities using the Swedish language... bl.a.

A lot of information and help was posted in Arabic while I attended, but nothing in English... so remained fairly clueless as to what was going on.
20:54 December 29, 2011 by jvtx3232
I just thought of a great idea. Now this might seem too "logical" but actually I like logical solutions.

One way to significantly reduce the burden of needing to teach new immigrants the Swedish language is to significantly curtail, if not eliminate altogether, the masses of refugees that are imported into the country.

Problem solved!
22:44 December 29, 2011 by Dimukas
Hello to all,

I am a two-years Master Student in Lund.

Just imagine they do not provide me with a Swedish course here!!!

I am shocked!!! My residence permit is for 10 months, that is meant I am not eligible for immigrant courses, and university provided me with courses only for money. And it is 3500 SEK per month!!! This is enough to buy monthly plane ticket to my home country and take courses here!!!

How it is possible!!! Spending two years in Sweden and learn only Tack så mycket. !!!
03:14 January 9, 2012 by dunce
Has it occurred to anyone that not learning the language gives them an excuse to stay on the dole forever.
Today's headlines
Music streaming battle heats up for Spotify
Spotify could face competition from more than just rap mogul Jay Z. Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Music streaming battle heats up for Spotify

This week's all-star launch of US rapper Jay Z's streaming music service may not have caused its Swedish rivals at Spotify to lose sleep – but analysts predict tough days ahead as tech giant Apple prepares to enter the fray. READ  

Sweden's Easter forecast promises sun and showers

You could spend your Easter holiday basking in glorious sunshine – or curled up inside hiding from the snow – depending on where in Sweden you live, according to weather forecasts. READ  

Lay judges step down over 'racist comments'
Lay judges have been accused of racist comments. Photo: Jessica Gow/SCANPIX

Lay judges step down over 'racist comments'

Several lay judges appointed by Sweden's third biggest political party, the Sweden Democrats, could face internal investigation and some have been forced to step down after claims they made racist comments online. READ  

Crackdown on illegal streaming in Sweden
Popcorn remains legal in Sweden but a site with a similar name isn't. Photo: TT

Crackdown on illegal streaming in Sweden

Users of illegal movie and television series streaming sites in Sweden including Popcorn Time are set to be tracked by a Danish lawfirm representing "major Hollywood companies" and could face fines of around 2000 SEK ($231). READ  

Swedes' Easter holiday saved as strike called off
A strike threatening to hit Swedish holidayers has been called off. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/SCANPIX

Swedes' Easter holiday saved as strike called off

Tens of thousands of Swedes hoping to spend their Easter weekend in Helsinki can rest easily again, as a sympathy strike threatening to hit all passenger traffic between Sweden and Finland was called off late on Wednesday afternoon. READ  

April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day: The Local's 2015 gags
We had many readers fooled that a town in southern Sweden said "no" in a Scottish way. Photo: Shutterstock

April Fools' Day: The Local's 2015 gags

Did you spot our story about Swedes in a former Viking town sounding Scottish? It was one of a range of April Fools' Day jokes across The Local's network of nine European news sites. Have a laugh reading about our other red herrings. READ  

Analysis
Rocky six months for new Swedish PM Löfven
Swedish PM Stefan Löfven on a visit to the US. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Rocky six months for new Swedish PM Löfven

The Swedish centre-left coalition government's first six months in power since last year's general election have not been the whopping success that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven had been hoping for. READ  

Swedish pilots fail to reach deal with SAS
Negotiations between Swedish pilots' unions and SAS are ongoing. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish pilots fail to reach deal with SAS

A deal between Swedish pilots and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is being automatically extended a week at a time after the agreement ended at midnight on Tuesday. READ  

Presented by ConnectSweden
CEO: Bromma 'essential' for Skanska's success
Pierre Olofsson, CEO of Skanska Sweden. Photo: Skanska

CEO: Bromma 'essential' for Skanska's success

The future of Bromma Airport has sparked a torrent of political debate, with supporters arguing it’s essential for Sweden's connectivity. But it’s more than that, says Skanska Sweden’s CEO Pierre Olofsson. It’s also critical for work-life balance. READ  

Thousands lose global TV channels in Telia row
Several channels are affected. Photo: Telia

Thousands lose global TV channels in Telia row

Up to 700,000 households that subscribe to Nordic telecoms giant Telia’s television packages have seen several channels – including Eurosport – disappear due to a dispute with broadcaster SBS. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
US spy agency to feature in new 'Stieg Larsson' book sequel
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Sponsored Article
ConnectSweden: Examining Sweden's place in the world
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm is the 'Boston of Europe'
Blog updates

27 March

Celebrating Three Great English Exports In 2015 (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Deputy Head of Mission Aidan Liddle joins us for another guest blog today. In 2015, England..." READ »

 

27 March

Editor’s blog, March 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Europe remains in shock following the Germanwings plane crash in the Alps that killed 150..." READ »

 
 
 
National
How this Syrian travelled to Sweden
Was Swedish TV host too harsh on nationalist leader Åkesson?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
National
Travelling over Easter? Don't miss our guide to rail disruption
Scandinavian airlines change cockpit rules after Greenwings crash
National
Sweden remembers Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer
Politics
Why petrol prices are going up
Gallery
People-watching: March 28th
What's on in Sweden: March 26th - April 2nd
Stieg Larsson's partner blasts Millennium trilogy sequel
Society
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Gallery
People-watching: March 25th
National
Which words are changing in Sweden's latest dictionary?
National
Is this house 'un-Swedish'?
National
Sweden pays tribute to victims of Germanwings Alps crash
National
Neo-Nazi activity rising in Sweden
National
How to make Swedish Waffles
Gallery
Property of the week: Torslanda - Hjuvik
National
Stray dog Arthur moves in with Swedish owners
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
National
Sweden triples maximum limit at asylum centres
Gallery
People-watching: March 21st
National
Why elderly Swedes are among the world's happiest people
National
TIMELINE: Gothenburg shootings
National
Can Sweden's feminist party score success in neighbouring Norway?
National
Why Brits can't get enough of Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's solar eclipse
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Royal wedding countdown begins
National
Viking ring reveals Islamic ties
National
TIMELINE: Julian Assange sex allegations in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: March 18th
National
One in three Russian diplomats are spies, says Sweden's Security Service
National
Hitchcock opera set to hit Gothenburg stage
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Northern Lights on show across Sweden
Technology
Why Swedish pop star Robyn is pushing for more girls in tech
Gallery
Property of the week: Umeå
National
Introducing Sweden's Eurovision 2015 entry Måns Zelmerlöw
Gallery
People-watching: March 13th - 15th
National
Why have Swedish prosecutors made a U-turn in Julian Assange case?
Sponsored Article
How Sweden and India can work together
Politics
Who's the new young leader of the Christian Democrats?
Travel
Why are Swedes so obsessed with Mallorca?
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,371
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se