72-year-old Ludmyla Klymenko is not really among those who have the right to Norwegian education in Norway, but in Tromsø she gets exactly this. Together with other 60- and 70-year-olds, she gets good training in Norwegian.
Municipalities are only required to provide language training to people between 18 and 67 years of age.
– We are very grateful that Tromsø municipality gives us this opportunity.
She says this in Ukrainian, but she can already tell that she comes from Ukraine and how old she is in Norwegian. She and her son came to Norway in March.
Now Tromsø municipality has taken the initiative to provide Norwegian lessons to the elderly refugees. For Klymenko, this means that she can learn Norwegian at the same time as her son receives education.
– When we came here we had to understand people so that we could communicate. It is very important to us, explains the 71-year-old.
Mayor of the municipality, Gunnar Wilhelmsen (Ap), believes it is natural for the municipality to offer training for those over 67.
– It is important and natural for us that the elderly also become part of society, he says.
On Wednesday, the Minister for Employment and Inclusion Marte Mjøs Persen (Ap) came to Tromsø to greet the very oldest students.
Now the minister wants more people of Klymenko’s age to have the same opportunity.
– I believe that learning Norwegian is one of the key factors in having a good life in Norway. To a very high degree, this also applies to the oldest part of the immigrant population, who might otherwise feel isolated and lonely.
Mjøs Persen believes that older refugees and immigrants will then have the opportunity to participate in the Norwegian defense on an equal footing with those who have the right to Norwegian education.
She would like to praise Tromsø municipality and other municipalities that provide this offer. Wilhelmsen says he appreciates the minister’s words of praise.
– We hope that it can become a national offer to integrate those over 67 into society, says the mayor.
This is not impossible.
– It may well be that we should look at the possibilities of making this a wider offer, says the minister.