A government proposal to offer performance-based bonuses to immigrants who complete a state-funded language course within one year has raised many concerns among teachers and students. If students pass the highest level of the Sevenska for Invandrare within a year they would receive a financial reward. However, instructors and students are leery that speed is better than allowing students to progress at their own pace. All agree the goal is for students to become proficient in the Swedish language so they can enter the job market, but some believe pushing the pace is a mistake. According to Annika Wall, an instructor, very few students have the ability to complete all SFI courses within a year. “Those who struggle have difficulties and struggle for years aren’t going to be helped by the smartest getting money.”
There is fear acceleration only adds pressure to teachers and students. My parents were uneducated immigrants who took several years before they gained mastery of the English language. During this period my father worked and gradually learned English as did millions of other immigrants. Speed is not the solution, learning a language and being able to use it are the goals. So what if it takes some a few years to gain the mastery?