Sweden criticised for poor minority-language education

Sweden rapped over poor minority-language instruction

The Swedish school curriculum stipulates that a pupil should get at least 6,785 hours in the classroom during their time in compulsory schooling. Here you can compare how much schooling is given in each subject. Can you find the minority languages?

Hög bokhylla med böcker i olika färger för de olika ämnena. Illustration: Susanne Lindeborg/Sveriges Radio.

The Swedish school curriculum as drawn up by the Swedish National Agency for Education guarantees a pupil 6,785 hours of classroom teaching during their time in compulsory schooling. Language lessons for pupils studying one of Sweden's five national minority languages (Finnish, Sami, Meänkieli, Romani, Yiddish) usually takes place outside of school hours. Here, we have taken the most common answer from our survey, namely that pupils get up to an hours’ teaching per week. The amount of time spent on the official minority languages is then similar to that of modern languages such as French, Spanish or German.

But unlike modern languages, where pupils usually start lessons in their teens, the figure for minority languages assumes that the children start getting lessons as soon as they begin going to school.

Each book in the bookcase represents ten hours of classes in each subject, and the subjects are ranked according to how much time is allotted to each subject in the curriculum. Adding the 320 hours of teaching in the minority languages means the total teaching time for children that study them goes up to 7,105 hours.

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