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Sweden to reward quick learning immigrants

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15:29 CET+01:00
The Swedish government has announced the launch of a performance-related bonus for immigrants pursuing state-funded language courses.

The bonus is designed to encourage students in Swedish for Immigrants (Svenska för Invandrare - SFI) courses to complete their studies faster.

"The government is making significant investments in improving the quality of SFI teaching and we now want to see if incentives directed at the individual students get results," integration minister Nyamko Sabuni in a statement on Friday.

"Stronger skills in the Swedish language improves opportunities for employment and self-support," Sabuni concluded.

The bonus will be launched on a test basis and county councils are invited to register their interest in being one of 15 municipalities chosen to take part in the scheme.

The Local reported in February 2009 that the SFI system was set for a major overhaul after the publication of a damning report by a state quality control agency.

According to the report the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) more than one in three SFI students fail to complete the programme within three years of starting their studies.

And among those that do get through the entire curriculum, only half manage a passing grade in the programme's highest level within three years.

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