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organizations from funding such instruction. (para. 162)


In order to get an overview of the effect of the repeal in 2008 the Documentation and Advisory Centre on Racial Discrimination (DACoRD or DRC) carried out a mapping of the instruction in the mother-tongue in the Danish School System. The survey consisted of a questionnaire directed to the 98 municipalities of the country and interviews with 40 parents to learn their reasons for having their children follow instruction in the mother-tongue.36 The report notes that from 1975 and until the change in legislation in 2002 instruction in the mother-tongue had been offered on equal terms irrespective of country of origin to all bilingual children for 3-5 hours a week.


As a result of the change in legislation in 2008 approximately 62.000 bilingual children of third country origin have lost the right, which they previously had, to develop their mother-tongue as an integral part of the public educational system. Through the legislative change it was left to the individual municipality to decide whether this group of pupils should be offered instruction in their mother-tongue on a par with children from EU/EES countries, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The negative implications for the largest group of bilingual children did not, however, appear from the revised law.37 The revised law only specifies which children continues to have the right to government supported instruction in their mother-tongue – a right which is secured to them through Directive 77/486/EEC along with children from Greenland and the Faroe Islands.38


The mapping demonstrated among other things that the possibility for bilingual children to receive publicly supported instruction in the mother-tongue varies tremendously depending on which municipality the family lived in.


The DACoRD survey shows, however, that by far the largest number of municipalities has chosen to follow the government downgrading of instruction in the mother-tongue. At the national level the result of the mappings reveals:

5 of the total 98 municipalities have offered instruction on equal terms to all bilingual pupils during the school year 2007/08. That is the case in the municipalities of Copenhagen39, Vordingborg, Randers, Frederikshavn and Vallensbæk.40

10 municipalities have to a certain extent offered instruction to all minority students irrespective of language. That means e.g., that the instruction is offered on equal terms up until the 3rd or 5th grade, after which point minority students with a non-European language no longer can receive publicly financed

36 Danmark har ondt i modersmålet, En kortlægning af kommunernes modersmålsundervisning i skoleåret 2007/08 [Denmark: Mother-Tongue Instruction is suffering - A survey of the Municipalities’ Instruction in the Mother-Tongue in the School Year 2008/09] – The report  and a summary in 6 languages, incl. English, is available at the DACoRD home page, www.drcenter.dk under the heading “Nyheder/news in Nov. 2008 (The main report) and May 2009 (Summaries).

37  Danish Law Gazette (Lovtidende) 2002, No. 618 of 22 July 2002.

38  Evas Skjulte Børn, Phd. Thesis, B. Kristjansdöttír, 2006.

39  From the school year 2008/09 the municipality of Copenhagen decided, however, that bilingual pupils could receive instruction in the mother-tongue on equal terms up to and including the 6th grade. After that grade parental payment is charged of students from 3rd Countries, while children of EU/EES citizens continue to be offered publicly financed instruction.

40  The policy of the municipality of Fanø also gives equal opportunity to the student group, but had no pupils that year who wished to take part in mother-tongue instruction.

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