Foreign children ‘should be taught in their own languages’

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.

Foreign children 'should be taught in their own languages'

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.