2022 – a big year for integration
Announcing that he had recently become a grandfather, Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen had picked the coming generations as the main theme of yesterday’s New Year’s speech.
He highlighted three themes that will affect the coming generations in the Faroe Islands: democracy, nature & environment and integration of immigrants.
Here is an English translation of the section on integration:
“We now have almost 2,300 immigrants with a non-Nordic background in the Faroe Islands – almost twice as many as four years ago.
Of these, there are 315 children. Although our teachers and our daycare staff have done a great job, we have not, as a country, offered satisfactory teaching to those who do not understand the Faroese language.
Our educational system was inadequately structured to meet this need. But we have now introduced a ‘Faroese as a foreign language’ teaching programme for children and adults.
This autumn, KVF broadcast the ‘Førleikar fyri skeytið’ [‘Skills gone to waste’] documentary, which centred on well-educated women who had married Faroese men.
One of the women in the documentary, Ping Thomsen, said: “I have 18 years of education, but I cannot use my skills here. I must admit that I feel some bitterness about that. If being allowed to use my skills here required some further study, I would happily do that.
>> SEE ALSO Immigrants struggle to make use of their skills
Faroese people often mention the great opportunities for education and work, along with strong social relations, as some of our strongest values.
But when part of the population cannot freely choose their vocation or education – and when they feel socially excluded – we need to realise that these values are at risk.
A new integration bill, which will soon be submitted to Parliament, seeks to remedy these shortcomings.
>> SEE ALSO Details emerge about integration bill
A great deal of research is being carried out on the topic of integration.
These are steps in the right direction, and it is important that our political system works toward improved integration of our immigrant community.
So here is my request for the people of the Faroe Islands: let us stretch out a helping hand to our immigrant community.
Why not invite them in for some tea or coffee? Or perhaps we can invite them for a fishing trip or ask them to join us on a sheep drive in the mountains?
This will enable them learn about our culture, while we get to learn about them and their backgrounds.
To make our immigrants feel welcome, we need to open our doors.”
Hear the Prime Minister’s New Year’s address here.
Translated by prosa.fo.
More Faroese News in English.