Internationalization thinking 4: Official language

This is the fourth part of SFS's blog series about the Internationalization Inquiry. Also read the previous posts about residence permit, establishment abroad and internationalization at home.

The inquiry's proposal: Universities and colleges must be able to use languages ​​other than Swedish.

We are happy about this. Everyone should be able to participate and influence the design of the education.

According to the Language Act, authorities must use Swedish as a working language. This also applies to universities and colleges. English certainly has a strong position in both research and education. But if an department board is to decide on a change in an education, it must be done in Swedish.  

Om higher education must achieve 100% internationalization so the decision-making processes must also have an international perspective. However, the fact that no decisions may be made in languages ​​other than Swedish is a major obstacle. Although parts of the decision-making process may be carried out in English, the option of mixing languages ​​is not sufficiently inclusive. In addition, it is awkward and tends to be avoided.

In practice, it is difficult for international students to participate in decisions that affect them. Despite the fact that students have the right to participate in development work. Despite the fact that some educations have very many international students.

In practice, many foreign teachers cannot participate in deciding on syllabi for courses for which they are responsible.

Even if the proposal becomes a reality, Swedish will be used for the most part. But in contexts where everyone involved masters a common language other than Swedish, processes will be able to be much more inclusive. This would lead to international students becoming more involved. In this way, it would strengthen student influence.

The next post is about proposals for student organizations.