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Sweden - China

Chinese to be taught in all Swedish schools

Chinese is to be taught in all Swedish primary schools, making Sweden the first European country to introduce the instruction of Chinese as a foreign language in all primary and secondary schools.

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Announcing the move on Wednesday, Sweden’s Education Minister Jan Bjoerklund insisted the move is needed to improve the country’s competitiveness.

“Not everyone in the business world speaks English,” he said. “Very highly qualified activities are leaving Europe to move to China. Chinese will be much more important from an economic point of view than French or Spanish.”

English is currently the main foreign language taught in Swedish schools, followed by Spanish, German and French.

Bjoerklund acknowledges that this will require a lot of resources but claims that within a decade all primary schools should be fully equipped to teach the language. It may take 15 years for secondary schools to readjust.

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