Fide: language classes for better integration
Submitted by: Mike Magnin, Integration specialist, Integration Division, State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Switzerland
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
2012 – Present
The integration of migrants is an important political and social aim of the Swiss Confederation. We also believe that communicating in the local language plays a key role in supporting integration in the new society.
In 2007, With the mandate to develop a conceptual framework for the linguistic integration of migrants the Federal Council initiated a programme called “Fide”, which stands for «Français, Italiano, Deutsch in Switzerland» and promotes linguistic integration. The aim of Fide is to guarantee that individuals who speak other languages and who have immigrated to Switzerland have high-quality and efficient opportunities to develop and give proof of their linguistic competences. The didactic approach of Fide is characterized by principles such as everyday relevance, action and needs orientation.
Main activities of the Good Practice
Fide is a tool of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). It has been developed on four pillars:
- It offers ideas for, and supports, a scenario-based approach. It is based on principles and tools that enable the course trainers to organize their lessons based on the real needs of trainees and reflecting the realities of their requirements in real life. All these tools are available on the fide website free of charge.
- Implementing high-quality language teaching for foreigners and migrants requires diverse teachers working in integration contexts to have specific professional, methodical and social competences. To this end, a specific certificate of language for teachers in the field of integration has been developed.
- The fide-label is awarded for courses that promote the participants’ linguistic integration in an efficient, holistic and sustainable manner. It is a guarantee of comprehensive, innovative and quality teaching
- The “fide language passport” indicates the level reached in written and oral competency in all three Swiss national languages German, French and Italian. It is issued by the fide Secretariat on behalf of the State Secretariat of Migration (SEM). The passport is also an officially-recognized documents in procedures for granting a residence or settlement permits, or for naturalization.
Secretariat fide and Centre pour l’encouragement de l’intégration par les langues (CIL)/Zentrum Integrationsförderung durch Sprachen (ZIFS)
How challenges were overcome
It was a deliberate decision not to develop course material for language teaching, but rather principles and materials that enable course trainers to organize their lessons based on the real needs of trainees. Not relying on an educational book is a novelty and a challenge for teachers.
Furthermore, the language competency document, which is obtained through fide, is valuable and useful for participants.
Reflections are underway to overcome further challenges.
Results of the Good Practice
The development of fide's four axes is based on national and international scientific research. It seeks to support a more sustainable integration of individuals who migrated to Switzerland. However, no scientific studies have explored the fide programme in depth.