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Press release 18 February 2008 Swedish Ministry of Education and Research Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality

Swedish for immigrants (SFI) initiative - better quality and tougher requirements

- Skills-enhancement for SFI teachers
- National tests
- Clearer goals for SFI
- Three-year time limit for SFI education

Good language proficiency significantly increases immigrants’ chances of obtaining jobs, but National Agency for Education statistics on SFI education make disheartening reading: 60 per cent of the students do not achieve the goals. This is why the Government is investing in an initiative to boost SFI education: seven measures to improve education in Swedish for immigrants. Focus is being given to skills enhancement for teachers, national tests, clearer goals and time limits for SFI education.

"These statistics are hard to accept. How can education be permitted to fail in this way? Despite the fact that these deficiencies have long been known, the Social Democratic Government made no significant changes," says Minister for Education Jan Björklund.

"Knowledge of Swedish is required for work and integration. Language skills empower people and increase their chances of obtaining jobs and earning a living. This is why the SFI initiative is another important step in overcoming exclusion," says Minister for Integration Nyamko Sabuni.

Facts - Measures in the SFI initiative

1. Final tests in all programmes of study at national level.

2. Clear goals in the SFI curriculum.

3. Time limits for SFI education.

4. Evaluation of SFI.

5. Skills enhancement for SFI teachers.

6. Stronger national inspection system.

7. Performance-based SFI bonus.

Contact:

Anna Neuman

Press Secretary to Jan Björklund

+46 8 405 25 03

+46 70 188 65 55

anna.neuman@education.ministry.se