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Finnish students want to scrap compulsory Swedish

Published måndag 22 december 2014 kl 16.10

In neighbouring Finland, children are required to study Swedish in school. But according to a new poll three out of four students with Finnish as a native language don't want the compulsory Swedish lessons.

The results of the poll, conducted by scientists from Åbo Academi University and the University of Tampere, come as no surprise to most people in Finland. Swedish is not popular in Finnish schools and hasn't been for some time. But why? Radio Sweden's Ylva Mossing spoke to Maynie Rantala, a reporter at Swedish Radio's Finnish Service, Sisu Radio, who explains it has a lot to do with history.

"It has to do with a long-standing stigma. The finnish majority would consider the Swedish-speakers as some kind of upper class citizens," she says. And that is because of Swedish colonialism. Finland was part of Sweden for 600 years before Sweden lost the territory to Russia in 1809.

Just over 200 years later, Finnish-speaking students are no longer interested in having Swedish forced upon them. But seven out of ten says it would be a shame if the Swedish language disappeared completely in Finland, along with Swedish Culture. And they say it is important that Swedish people have access to services in their mother tongue.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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