27 September 2023

SWEDEN: Language courses failing migrants

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A new report from Sweden’s schools watchdog has found that four out of five providers of Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) classes have clear quality issues.

The report by Skolverket, the Swedish National Agency for Education, found that the quality of teaching across different SFI providers differed greatly, with only six of the 30 providers the Agency investigated providing good quality teaching.

All of the other 24 providers had issues, with three of them displaying serious failings.

In the report, Skolverket looked into both distance learning and on-site classes, finding that students in distance classes in particular rarely had the chance to practice speaking Swedish.

Director-General of the Agency, Helén Ängmo said if students at SFI did not have enough of a chance to speak Swedish, the barrier for them to enter into society and the labour market was raised.

In a separate development, the Government has announced that the contract of Director of the Swedish Migration Agency, Mikael Ribbenvik will not be renewed. He will be replaced in an acting basis by his deputy, Inga Thoresson Hallgren.

The departure of Mr Ribbenvik (pictured) has been welcomed in some quarters, with one MP, Björn Söder saying it was time to “tidy up” the Agency and the “asylum activists should be kicked out”.

Mr Ribbenvik described this as an “absurd accusation”.

“The criticism against the Migration Agency throughout the years has always been that we are too harsh. The purpose of an Agency is to follow the law,” Mr Ribbenvik said.

“I’m quite a thin-skinned person privately, but in work, you can’t be, because it will eat you up. No matter who you are, you will always be criticised and you will be criticised from all different angles.”

Stockholm, 29 May 2023

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