Minister vows to help newcomer children in schools
The number of schoolchildren with a non-Faroese background is on a steady increase, presenting the school system with an uphill struggle in trying to accommodate them.
Schools across the country have for some time been complaining that they feel unable to give these children the education and the cultural stimulation they need to adequately participate in daily Faroese life.
One of these schools is Tórshavn’s Skúlin á Fløtum which, according to deputy principal Martin Karl Olsen, has an average of at least one non-Faroese pupil per class.
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“It is difficult for these children to integrate into Faroese society,” he says. “Many of them have a background in the Far East, which means their language and cultural background is vastly different to ours.”
Schools are offered state-subsidised Faroese-language tuition for pupils with a foreign background, but Olsen says that a more comprehensive solution is needed.
“A few weekly hours of language teaching is only a small part of the solution. An inevitable consequence is that these children continually feel they are less able than their Faroese classmates, and that is sad to see.”
A solution is top priority
Education minister Jenis av Rana acknowledges the problem and says a solution is a top priority for the authorities.
“Not only is it difficult for these children at school,” he says. “In many cases there is a big mismatch between their background and the culture they enter here, and with the options currently available, it is very difficult for schools to bridge that gap.”
He adds that there is no quick-fix solution to this problem, but he insists that the education ministry is working hard to find a solution.
“We are for instance preparing supplementary training for teachers to improve their ability to take on this particular challenge,” he says. “We are also improving our evening school system to help integrate parents with a non-Faroese background.”
Translated by prosa.fo