Teachers and other staff at schools on the Reykjanes peninsula in South Iceland have been offered the opportunity to attend courses in Polish in order to better communicate with Polish-speaking students and parents, RÚV reports.
The largest percentage of foreign nationals settled in Iceland, or 26%, live in the Reykjanesbær municipality, which comprises the towns of Keflavík and Njarðvík, as well as the village of Hafnir. The percentage is similar in the whole of Reykjanes: 24% or one in four of the peninsula’s residents are from other countries. Overall, there are around 50,000 immigrants living in Iceland, 19,000 of whom are Poles.
The Polish classes are being offered by the Center for Continuing Education in Reykjanes. Project manager Kristín Hjartadóttir says that they have been arranged at the request of upper secondary school teachers in Reykjanesbær with the belief that a basic knowledge of Polish will come in handy in their day to day work.“Both that and we maybe have students who are starting to speak Icelandic, but whose parents don’t understand Icelandic or English,” she explained.
The classes will then give teachers and parents a better chance of communicating with one another without always needing to resort to an interpreter. Kristín emphasized that the addition of Polish classes are in no way reflective of an intention to undermine Icelandic instruction, simply an added resource for educators.