Minister wants to test Danish skills of bilingual children of as young as two

Early exams would help children with non-Western backgrounds to catch up

A report from the city of Copenhagen reveals that over 44 percent of bilingual students from a non-Western background who started school in 2015 need special help to improve their Danish skills.

And now the children and social minister, Mai Mercado, is preparing a bill that would allow local authorities to make language assessments of children as young as two years old.

“It is sad to see so many children without sufficient Danish vocabulary and language skills,” Mercado told Metroxpress.

“Clearly some children could be helped with an earlier effort.”

The proposal would also provide bilingual children with the opportunity to attend a daycare facility, such as kindergarten, if it is judged there is a need for it.

Parents need to be involved
The education minister, Merete Riis Ager, supports the new initiatives. She pointed out, however, that the parents of bilingual children must also take some responsibility.

“The statistical differences between children with a Danish background and non-Western background are large,” she said. “The home is crucial to a child’s ability to learn and take part in school.”

Ager said that parents needed to take “an active role if we are to have any chance of equalising the major statistical differences we see”.

READ MORE: Bilingual students in Copenhagen continue to struggle

Only 11.7 percent of students with Danish or Western backgrounds in kindergarten classes in 2015 required a ‘special or focused’ effort to get better at Danish.