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If you live in Sweden you must learn Swedish

Tuesday 30 October 2012 | editor Media4us

When I went to primary school we lived in an area were families with another mother tongue then Swedish was unusual. My parents struggled to get permission for me and my sister to read Kurdish in school, but were denied due to the requirements of the mother tongue education was considered not met. According to the board of education, pupils are only required to get education in their mother tongue if they already have certain skills in their language. The municipalities don’t have any obligations of serving education if there is no appropriate teacher and if there is not at least five pupils in the municipality that share the same mother tongue. 

Sweden is a multicultural country with people from all parts of the world, which means that people speak many different languages. It's incredibly valuable for our country, still a report by the boarder of education shows that only half of the students who are eligible for teaching their mother tongue actually participate. In many cases it is because the pupils’ haven´t even been informed that they can read the language and how it can gain them. Even if it should be school that informs parents about what their children’s rights are, they don’t act until after the pupils and their parents themselves take the initiative. When the school does not take responsibility, it is likely that students do not apply and therefore does not participate.


The question is why this information is not taken seriously. Is this about what the government tells us today, “If you want to become a Swedish citizen you must learn Swedish.” Well to learn the Swedish language can be important. But believes that mother tongue education will worsen the learning of Swedish language are false. If a person has good skills in their own mother tongue it race the chances of easier learning another language. To only learn the Swedish language can also exclude other important knowledge. Pupils who are studying mother tongue can also build up a stronger security for its family and history which can help even more people around them. It can also increase their desire for a deeper knowledge of the Swedish language and open their eyes to education.


If my father wouldn´t have been so stubborn to speak Kurdish with me and my sister, if he wouldn´t have showed such love for the language, then I wouldn´t be able to master my mother tongue as I know it today. My language skills have given me more opportunities in life, a wider perspective and views. To have the opportunity to read mother tongue in school give all children and youths wider knowledge, better chances of learning in generally and because of that in the end also better possibilities in higher education. For a Swedish perspective this means a society with enormous knowledge witch will only be for the benefits of this country.

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Perspectives is the international website for the Media4us project. Media4us offers ethnic groups in Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and UK the opportunity to express their visions on integration and participation. Media4us is co-financed by the European Integration Fund.
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