Arabic Most Spoken Language Among Children in Swedish Municipality Preschool

395410 05: A student reads a textbook at the Islamic religious school, Tajdal Quran madrassa, October 5, 2001 in Quetta, Pakistan. Like most Islamic school students in Pakistan they memorize the Qu-ran (Koran) but they don''t understand much of the contents of the Koran since it is in Arabic which …
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

In the Swedish municipality of Ronneby, the majority of children in six of nine preschools do not speak Swedish as a first language, with one school seeing most children speaking Arabic.

Around 60 to 89 per cent of the children attending the six preschools speak another language as their mother tongue with the Skogsgläntans preschool seeing the majority of children speaking Arabic, fueling fears of segregation in the municipality.

Monica Berggren, the rector of Skogsgläntans preschool, said that language issues can be a problem when conflicts arise, while teacher Camilla Widerström added that it was difficult for teachers to understand the children or have the children understand them, Sveriges Radio reports.

The manager of preschools in the municipality Ingela Berg added that the preschools are largely in areas that have seen high numbers of newly arrived immigrants.

The Arabic language has seen a surge in popularity in Sweden in recent years in the wake of the 2015 migrant crisis, with Arabic language courses becoming more popular in the country than English or French courses in 2018.

The municipality of Oskarshamn has also seen an influx of Arabic speakers in recent years and in an effort to help newly arrived migrant women enter the labour force, the local government proposed free Arabic-language driving lessons.

Sweden is not the only country in Europe facing large numbers of schoolchildren who do not speak the majority native language of their country.

In the German city of Duisburg, a report published last year claimed that just 8.2 per cent of migrant-background children in the city’s elementary schools could speak German fluently. The report added that 16.4 per cent of the children spoke no German at all.

In the city of Kassel, a six-year-old German girl who was viciously bullied by her migrant-background classmates was revealed to be the only native German speaker in her entire class.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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