Edited By Mirja-Tytti Talib, Jyrki Loima, Heini Paavola and Sanna Patrikainen
How to develop an intercultural school: Experiences from Sweden Pirjo Lahdenperä 107
107 How to develop an intercultural school: Experiences from Sweden Pirjo Lahdenperä Introduction: Multicultural Sweden During the thirty years of my employment, the world around me, including Sweden, has become more multicultural and diverse. This affects not only the resulting multicultural society for different ethnic groups, but also world views and values, ideologies and beliefs. People travel more and are easily informed about happenings around the world via the Internet. People move to different countries because of work, as victims of natural disasters, wars, for economic reasons and for love. Nationalistic views are starting to give way to more plural- istic and multicultural world views. In 2006, 13 percent of the Swedish population (c.1.2 million people) were born out of Sweden. The Swedish pre-school population today speaks more than a hundred different languages. Some of these children and young people speak languages of national minorities in Sweden: Sámi, Finnish, Meänkieli, Romani Chib and Yiddish. Approximately 15% percent of all pupils in primary schools have foreign backgrounds; they were born abroad or in Sweden of foreign-born parents (Skolverket, 2008). There are neighbourhoods in the major cities of Europe, including Swe- den, in which most residents have roots outside of Sweden and the EU area. In these type of suburbs in Sweden, there are schools in which the number of stu- dents with foreign backgrounds rises up to 90–100 percent (Skolverket, 2004). In everyday speech, the areas segregated by political and economic benchmarks are referred to as multi-ethnic neighbourhoods....
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