Swedish government proposes lessons for immigrants

sweden1Swedish immigrants should learn about core societal values and how the country functions according to a government inquiry.

“Without knowledge of fundamental societal values, an important prerequisite to be able to live and work in Sweden is lacking,” Erik Amna told the Dagens Nyheter daily. Amna headed the government investigation that suggested municipalities should offer up to 60 hours of teaching to new arrivals. If implemented, the scheme would be complemented by the abandoning of the traditional practice of separating immigrants into religious or ethnic groups.

Amna’s proposal, which has been forwarded to the Swedish Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni, outlines three areas where the courses should focus. The Local reports that these categories are divided into: values (the national constitutional foundations), the welfare state (understanding public institutions), and day-to-day life (the practical application of knowledge of the welfare state).

“How shall we begin the story of Sweden for the 40,000 refugees, relatives, labour market immigrants and other adult arrivals that move to Sweden every year?” asks Amna, a professor in political sciences at Orebro University. Amna claims his proposal would ensure equality across all members of society, “On the one hand to take part in collective decisions about societal development and, on the other, be able to form their lives independently and to live in freedom”.

The courses would not be compulsory, but in the event that half of new arrivals enrol, would cost an estimated SEK 90 million (USD 12 million).