Denmark considers compulsory language test for all two-year-olds

Parents could face cuts to child benefit if they don't comply, indicates Education Minister

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The Independent Online

Children in Denmark could be required to take part in a language programme from the age of two, if a government minister's proposals are implimented.

Ellen Trane Nørby, Danish Minister for Education and member of the Liberal party, has put forward plans for a policy that requires parents to agree for their children to be enrolled in the programme or risk have their child benefits cut, according to Danish news outlet Jyllands-Posten.

There is currently a compulsory language programme in place for between 15 and 30 hours per week for Danish three year olds.

But Ms Nørby said some children were "lagging behind" and put forward plans to extend the the current system to apply to children regardless of whether their parents work or stay at home in order to improve rates of integration.

She indicated that parents could face cuts to their benefit if the child does not partake in the programme.

Ms Nørby told the Jyllands-Posten: “We have some Danish children who are Danish citizens, but are lagging behind. We must intervene and set some specific requirements to ensure their better integration than we have achieved so far.”

In recent years Denmark appears to have become increasingly opposed to immigration.

In September, a Danish school introduced a policy of separating pupils by ethnicity in a bid to avoid multicultural classes, meaning not only refugees but also Danish citizens with foreign roots were separated from other Danish children.

The policy drew criticism from human rights advocates, with a spokesperson from SOS Racism describing it as “pure discrimination”.

Denmark also made headlines last year with a law that allowed police officers to seize valuables from refugees as a way to help defray the costs of hosting the new arrivals.