Native language

It is important for pupils to read in their native language in order to develop towards active bilingualism. If at least five pupils in the municipality have registered for native language teaching in a specific language, the school is obliged to offer it, provided a qualified teacher can be employed.

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Language is our main tool for thinking, communicating and learning. Language allows people to develop their identities, express their feelings and thought, and understand how other people feel and think. Having access to one’s native language also facilitates language development and learning in other areas. 

Who can have native language classes?

A pupil is entitled to native language classes if

  • one or both of the pupil’s guardians have another language than Swedish as their native language
  • the language is the pupil’s day-to-day language at home
  • the pupil has basic knowledge of the language and a reasonable chance of attaining the curriculum goals for native language learning.

Goals and curriculum for native language learning on

Minority languages

Pupils who belong to the national minorities – Roma, Jews, Sami, Tornedalians and Sweden Finns – have an additional right to native language classes. National minority language classes – in Finnish, Yiddish, Meänkieli, Romani or Sami – must be offered even if there is only one pupil who wants them and/or the language is not the pupil’s day-to-day language at home. 

Minority language support in preschool

Preschools must contribute to giving all children with a native language other than Swedish the possibility of developing both Swedish and their native language. Each individual preschool is responsible for working with minority language support as one of the goals in the preschool curriculum. This support involves showing an interest in the children’s native languages, encouraging the use of the native language at home, and encouraging the child to become curious and positive about bilingualism.

Preschool staff determine whether one or more children need language support. Applications are sent to the Native language unit.

Native language teaching in comprehensive and upper secondary school

Native language teaching is a separate subject with its own syllabus in comprehensive and upper secondary school. The goal of native language teaching is for pupils to develop knowledge of and about their native language. Teaching must give pupils the means and opportunity to develop their cultural identity and become multilingual.

Pupils are graded in the subject in years 6-9. Assessments are based on nation-wide goals and knowledge requirements specified in the syllabus for the native language.

In upper secondary school, native languages can be studied in the form of native language courses. These are:

  • Native language 1- 100 credit points
  • Native language 2 - 100 credit points
  • Native language – active bilingualism 100 credit points

In order to begin taking the first course, Native language 1, the pupil needs a grade in his/her native language from Year 9, or equivalent knowledge. This is tested by the native language teachers. The other courses are continuations of Native language 1. Each course has specified knowledge requirements for grades.

Study guidance

Study guidance is provided for pupils who have arrived recently and to those pupils who are unable to follow normal classes fully due to insufficient knowledge of Swedish.

Study guidance is intended to support the teaching of subjects via the language that the pupil speaks, or the language in which the pupil has previously been taught.

The head teacher and the supervisor together determine the extent of guidance in one or more subjects. Schools can request study guidance for a pupil on a term by term basis from the Native language unit, for as long as the pupil needs it. 

Application for native language teaching

Comprehensive school: Send applications/cancellations to the pupil’s school or to the Native language unit. The application form is available below, but can also be picked up at school offices. 

Upper secondary school: Applications for the courses are made and approved at the start of the academic year, at the office of the pupil’s school.

Reviewed 2016-02-02 by CLASBEN