• Sweden edition
 
Agency slams immigrant language class failings

Agency slams immigrant language class failings

Published: 29 Dec 2011 09:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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
Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
Search for foreign vessel continues off Stockholm
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Search for foreign vessel continues off Stockholm

Sweden's armed forces were continuing to search for the cause of apparent "foreign underwater activity" in the Stockholm Archipelago on Monday. But the military denied news agency reports that they had imposed an exclusion zone. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden hit by two Ebola false alarms in two days
The Uppsala University Hospital. Photo: TT

Sweden hit by two Ebola false alarms in two days

UPDATED: A patient has been cleared of any Ebola suspicions at the Uppsala University Hospital. It marks the second suspected case in Sweden in two days. READ  

Perspective: ‘Russian sub’ alert
Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters
The HMS Stockholm patrols Jungfrufjärden in the Stockholm archipelago on Monday morning. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters

With Sweden engaged in its biggest domestic military operation since the Cold War, The Local spoke to Johan Wiktorin, a fellow at the Swedish Royal Academy of War Sciences, to get insight into what’s going on in the Stockholm archipelago. READ  

My Swedish Career
US woman starts up Swedish toy store online
Leigh Neil and a llama hand puppet. Photo: Private

US woman starts up Swedish toy store online

For this week's My Swedish Career we meet Leigh Neil, who one day came to realize that there was a gap in the Swedish market for children's toys and decided to do something about it. READ  

Stockholm 'Russian sub' alert
No truth to Russia's submarine claim: Dutch
A CB90-class fast assault craft at Kullbäling, a small island in Stockholm's archipelago. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

No truth to Russia's submarine claim: Dutch

The Netherlands on Monday denied a Russian claim that a mystery vessel the Swedish military has been looking for could be Dutch. READ  

Lufthansa Strike
Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike
Grounded Lufthansa planes. Photo: TT

Over 20 Swedish flights hit by Lufthansa strike

A strike by pilots at German airline Lufthansa will affect over 20 flights in and out of Sweden over the next two days. READ  

National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Photo: Shutterstock

Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars

A dentist in western Sweden is offering free dental care to his town's Roma begging population. READ  

Business & Money
Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts
Photo: TT

Electrolux profit soars after cost-cutting efforts

Swedish electrical appliance maker Electrolux reported its third-quarter net profit soared 42 percent to 933 million kronor ($130 million) thanks to a cost-cutting programme started at the end of last year. READ  

National
School photographer fired for homophobic slur
Photo credit: Shutterstock

School photographer fired for homophobic slur

A photographer at a high school in southern Sweden was sacked after he called one of the students a "fag" during a shoot. READ  

Ebola crisis
Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

Patient in isolation after airport Ebola alert

A male passenger who landed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport has been transferred to an isolation unit amid fears he may be suffering from the Ebola virus. But a specialist was keen to play down concerns. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Gallery
Stefan Löfven through the years
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
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

990
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
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:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN