Sweden fails to evaluate language courses

In the forty years since Sweden first began offering courses in Swedish for Immigrants (Svenska för Invandrare - SFI), no government has evaluated the effects of the language courses despite being obliged by law to do so.

This criticism comes from the Swedish National Audit Office (Riksrevisionen – SNAO), which will present its findings in a report to be released on Thursday.

“Here we have an activity that has been running for forty years, which costs around a billion kronor ($162 million) per year, and nobody has bothered finding out anything about its effects,” SNAO’s Karin Lindell told Sveriges Radio.

The auditors said it was vital to gather more information about SFI students and compare the statistics with data for immigrants who had not participated in the state-sponsored language programmes.

According to SNAO, successive governments have seldom tried to find out what becomes of students once their courses have been completed. If it is to properly assess the effectiveness of SFI, the government must take into account factors such as employment and salary, along with other indicators for integration, Sveriges Radio reports.