Denmark's Forcing 2-Year-Olds To Take A Language Test

Denmark is now threatening parents of preschoolers to enroll them in language programs, but is this a good way to promote integration?

Ellen Trane Norby

Children who have not reached the required language standard, but whose parents refuse to send them to pre-school may risk a possible reduction from state support in Denmark.

Most of the children who suffer from a language barrier are children of immigrants.

Ellen Trane Norby, a member of the Liberal party and the Danish Minister for Education, has proposed a new policy that requires all parents to enroll their two year old children in language programs. Parents who fail to comply will have their child’s benefits cut, according to a Danish newspaper.

Denmark already has a 15- to 30- hour compulsory language course for 3-year-olds, which was created in order to allow a quicker transition for foreign children in Danish society. However, Norby believes some children are still lagging behind and proposes extending the system to children as young as two. She also believes threatening the parents with cuts in child benefits will result in faster integration of immigrants in Denmark.

Danish children

 “We have some Danish children who are Danish citizens, but are lagging behind. We must intervene and set some specific requirements to ensure their better integration than we have achieved so far," told Nørby.

But is her method really feasible? It is true that language plays a big role in effective communication and is important in understanding culture, but it takes a lot more than common speech for true co-existence and integration.

With a high influx of migrants seeking asylum from war torn areas like Syria, the country has started doling out policies regarding immigration — and they are getting more and more absurd by the second.

Last month, a Danish school in the city of Aarhus decided to segregate students based on their ethnicity in an attempt to avoid multicultural classes.

The policy resulted in backlash from human rights campaigners who dubbed the move as “pure discrimination.”

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