New strategy aims to get Danes speaking more languages

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
New strategy aims to get Danes speaking more languages
File photo: Søren Sielemann/Polfoto/Ritzau

Foreign language skills are vital for Denmark’s ability to benefit from partnerships with other countries, says Minister of Science, Technology, Information and Higher Education Søren Pind.


Denmark’s government has announced an investment of 100 million kroner (13.4 million euros) in an initiative aimed at improving Danes’ abilities to speak foreign languages other than English.

A high demand for, for example, French or German-speaking engineers makes foreign languages such as these worthwhile for Denmark, a country which already excels in English, according to Pind.

“Denmark is a country with 5.5 million people with 500-600 million living in nearby countries. We are influenced by our surroundings and there are many places in which English is not first choice,” the minister said.

“It is important that Danes can get by in Germany and France, since we are an ancient trading country and an open economy,” he added.

The aim of the new strategy is to encourage more Danish students to choose to learn more foreign languages in addition to English, rather than as an alternative to it.

Language study programmes will also be designed to train students in practical skills that can be used on the jobs market, in order to attract the most talented young people.

“Language skills are part of personal development. If we are to have adults with good and broad language skills, the work starts at a young age. Individual students must be inspired at an early age with high quality language lessons,” minister for education Merete Riisager stated in a written comment.

The central element of the new strategy will be the opening of a new national centre for foreign languages.

99 million kroner will be spent on the centre, where tasks will include development of language education at junior and high schools as well as colleges, teacher training programmes and universities.

The final million kroner will be spent on training interpreters for international conferences, who will also be able to provide translation services for businesses and EU institutions.

READ ALSO: Danish: Is it really so hard to learn?


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