Sweden: Greens push for mother-tongue instruction

Even if mother-tongue instruction would be proven to help, which it hasn't - what is the mother-tongue of Somalis, Pakistanis and Moroccans?

Due to nationalist and ethnic issues, quite a few kids who study in their 'mother-tongue' are actually learning in a language they don't speak at home. The result: kids who must struggle with 3-4 languages instead of 'just' 2, and who leave school not being able to speak, read or write the national language.


Foreign children who move to Sweden should have a right to be taught maths and English in their native language, the opposition Green Party has said.

Green spokeswoman Maria Wetterstrand told a press conference at the Almedalen political week in Visby, Gotland, that research shows that "people learn better if they get support in their native language."

"There has been enough wishy-washiness in schools. It's time to listen to the results of research," she said, citing the fact that 40 percent of pupils who had come to Sweden from abroad left school without qualifications.

Under the Greens' proposals, all year-groups in all schools would offer lessons in maths and English in pupils' own languages, as long as there were at least five pupils with the same native language. The party wants to launch pilot schemes in ten municipalities.

Wetterstrand also wants courses in pupils' home languages to be recognized as a qualification when applying to university. The party is also calling for native language help in preschools to be made a statutory right.

"Multilingualism is an asset to society and we should make use of it. The time when we only did business with Germany, Britain and France is past," she said.

The Greens plan to push their ideas in negotiations with their political allies in the Social Democrats and Left Party. She added that she hoped the three parties would present plans for a potential coalition government in the autumn.

Source: The Local (English)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a linguist, I actually have some qualifications regarding what I'm about to say here. Children should receive zero instruction in their "mother tongue" in school. They should learn their national language and maybe a another language of education in linguistically pluralistic countries like Belgium and Switzerland, and a useful foreign language like Spanish, Japanese, or a signed language. They can then receive instruction in their mother tongue in college, but if they don't learn the language of the country in which they live or a language of education, they will never complete their secondary education. Children have an amazing ability to pick up different languages, but that ability wanes very quickly with age, so that that capacity becomes equal with that of adults by about age 10 or 11. They will undoubtedly pick up their "mother tongue," at home, so there is absolutely no reason for them to learn it in schools, but there is every reason for them to learn the language of the country in which they live or a language of education at a young age. And if they don't pick up their mother tongue at home, then their parents are by definition unfit because they never talk to their own kids, probably because they are too busy breeding like rats, in the case of "Somalis, Pakistanis and Moroccans."

And the fact that they don't consider the language of the country in whch they live to be their "mother tongue" is tantamount to sedition. My mother is an Italian immigrant, but it never occurred to me that any language but English was my "mother tongue." My mother is an immigrant, but she assimilated. She therefore deserves her American citizenship. Even she regards English as her "mother tongue" as much as if not more than Italian. I also think the analogy of my mother is particularly appropriate because she came to America in 1950. She was, like "Somalis, Pakistanis and Moroccans," a refugee from a failed Fascist theocracy. And she has nothing but embraced America, our culture, and the laws of our land with open arms, along with Britain, since she lived there during the Swingin' 60's. She actually such an Anglophile that she named my sister Gillian. With a G. And she devoted her career to upholding the law of our land. Anyone who does otherwise does not deserve be here, in Europe, or in any free world nation. Period.

I learned French in school because it is a useful language of education, commerce, literature, and some degree technology. I learned Italian in college. That is the natural order of things. Yes, I consider myself to be Italian, but I consider myself to be a lot of things. I am first and foremost a human being, then an American, then a Christian, then a Jew (yes, I'm both, at least ethnically, but my grandparents are the original Jews for Jesus so I never saw those as in any way conflicting), then a Republican, THEN an Italian. Then an American again. That's how assimilation works.