Immigrant students not learning enough Danish

denmarkA new report has controversially suggest a third of immigrants learn very little from their compulsory culture and language classes.

The report, titled Fakta om Integration 2012, surveyed results among the 50,000 foreigners enrolled in the program to assess its effectiveness. One-in-three of them confessed they gain little real benefit from the course.

The group, which mostly comprises of foreigner workers, students or family related to Danish citizens, has ballooned in recent years, up from 34,000 five years ago. The program now costs the state a billion Danish kroner annually, but recent moves were proposed to cut 200 million from the ‘Danish as a Second Language’ programme.

Hanne Pontoppidan, the head of Udannelsesforbundet (union) said “The language centres are an essential component in preparing a person to adjust and make it in Denmark. It is very serious that a third of the people taking the classes are not learning about important aspects of Danish society, and that needs to change.”

“Teachers are telling us about being under pressure and being forced only to prepare the students for the language test,” Pontoppidan said. “Time to focus on the broad understanding of what Danish society is about has been cut to save money.”

However, Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, EL’s integration spokesperson, hit back, saying newcomers to Denmark are not learning enough in the classes designed to prepare them for immigration exams.

“The teaching is a prerequisite for people becoming integrated properly,” she said. “The report shows that the foreign workers and students demand better teaching and I will look into that.”

About 50 facilities in the country offer Danish as a second language programmes. Poul Neergaard, the head of FLD, the association for administrators of such schools, admitted that there were problems that needed addressing.

“Since the report was released, language centres have focused more on improving their classes in Danish culture. I believe that they are making progress,” Neergaard said.

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