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Language programme aims to boost integration

It's hard to integrate if you don't understand what's going on. Keystone

The Federal Migration Office has launched a language training system specifically defined around the integration needs of migrants. The course will be gradually introduced in collaboration with the cantons from the summer.

This content was published on May 15, 2012 - 14:10

Called “FIDE – learn, teach and assess French, Italian and German in Switzerland”, the training system will become the nationwide norm for immigrant language training.

Its focus will be on giving immigrants the language competence needed to undertake such ordinary tasks such as consulting a doctor or attending parent-teacher meetings.

“Mastering the language is an essential condition for successful integration. Anyone who wishes to get around successfully in the country they have chosen to live in must be able to understand what is going on around them and to make themselves understood,” Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said in a statement.

“The objective is not to pass an abstract written test, but to be able to cope with daily challenges. So FIDE is suitable even for people who have no schooling or little formal training.”

The language training system was developed in collaboration with the Institute of Multilingualism at Fribourg University and designed on the basis of a survey of more than 300 immigrants and professionals from all walks of Swiss life. It is based on the common European framework of reference for languages (CEFR) and adapted to the specific needs of Switzerland, where the situation is complicated by the fact not only that it has four national languages, but that the spoken and the written language can differ considerably, especially in the German-speaking areas.

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