Olle Wästberg (right), with then Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, opening the Swedish Embassy in Second Life, Photo: Janerik Henriksson/Scanpix

Criticism of plan to cut Swedish courses abroad

A high-profile former Swedish politician, diplomat and media chief has criticized the government’s proposals to cut off funding for courses in Swedish abroad.

Writing in the newspaper “Dagens Nyheter” Tuesday, Olle Wästberg says the money the government wants to cut makes possible training in the Swedish language, society, and culture at 228 universities in 39 countries. He says sending a signal that learning Swedish is no longer important will mean its end at most universitities.

Wästberg also criticizes the government’s proposal to cut funding for the Swedish House student residence in Paris and Swedish Institute information programs abroad.

Wästberg is currently head of the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. His previous positions include Member of Parliament, director of the Swedish Institute, which works to promote Sweden and Swedish issues abroad, Sweden’s General Consul in New York, and Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper “Expressen”.

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