Lacking skills in Swedish and/or English are a barrier to newly-arrived immigrants wanting to study in Sweden. File photo: Jurek Holzer/TT

Language barrier for newly-arrived academics

Swedish study programmes use course literature in English
2:27 min

A lack of Swedish or English language skills is proving a barrier for newly-arrived academics wanting to validate their qualifications, but many Swedish universities are now introducing language training for immigrants.

Around 30 newly-arrived immigrants and asylum seekers applied when the Computer Science department at the Linnaeus University opened up the opportunity for validation of foreign qualifications. But as many lacked English or Swedish language proficiency, only three were accepted.

"It was a straightforward process to validate their experience, their knowledge and skills from a computer science perspective. However, it turned out that the formal knowledge in English or Swedish among these 30 students was not good enough," Jesper Andersson, Department Head of Computer Science at the Linnaeus University, told Radio Sweden.

The problem, according to Andersson, is that the prospective students need to learn Swedish in order to be able to integrate in their new country. But at the same time, university studies in Sweden requires English language skills, as the teaching material is often in English.

Like many other Swedish universities, the Linnaeus University is now planning to offer language courses for students needing to validate their qualifications – and they are currently discussing whether to offer these courses in Swedish or English.

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