Sami Language in Primary and Secondary Education

Torkel Rasmussen
Skåvllå, åhpadibme

Since the 2005/06 school year, fewer and fewer students are taking Sami as a Second Language at the primary and lower secondary level. The article shows that the decrease appears to have stopped and that the number of students has stabilised, albeit at a lower level than before. The decline in student numbers for South Sami as a second language, however, is still worrisome. There is also a decline in the number of students learning Sami as a first language. Special attention is focused on the differences between the number of students who learn Sami as a mother tongue and the number of students who have Sami as the language of instruction. More and more students at the primary and lower secondary level are choosing to take Sami as a first language without having any other subject taught in Sami.

The availability of instructional material to teach subjects other than Sami language in Sami has improved over the las four years. Nevertheless, the situation is still critical for Lule and South Sami where students still lack teaching material in most of the subjects at the primary and lower secondary level.

A review of the Office of the County Governor’s inspection reports on Sami education shows that all of the inspections in Nordland and Oslo/Akershus found breaches of the law. In Finnmark, the reports are uniformly positive. A review of Sami education in other counties has not been undertaken.