Interview with Saida Begum
Foto: Trond Lepperød (Nettavisen)
- We see that Høyre is setting the Norwegian languages proficiency the top priority among the elementary school system, especially advocates that the strengthening of Norwegian languages should start as earlier as from barnehage. We see also that many proposals of how this will be implemented. However, they are many parents who lack of good Norwegian languages proficiency. Could you please give us some example of how such information can be conveyed to the parents whom their children might potentially need to be enrolled for more dedicated Norwegian language classes?
We must ensure that all children who start in first grade understand Norwegian well enough to follow lessons. We want to have teams of specialists within language development that can function as an extra help in kindergartens in Oslo. We also want to test children’s language development to strengthen their Norwegian skill before school start.
- One common problem in the most Oslo barnehagen is that the employee changing so fast. There are so many “vikariat” in the barnehage, which is not good for children development. From your point of view, what is the main reason for that, and what can be done to improve it?
Regarding language development, we believe that it should be a requirement that all employees in kindergartens, schools and AKS including “vikarer” should have sufficient Norwegian skills.
- We see in Høyre is suggesting having minoritetsrådgivere at school. Would you like to elaborate more of why having this role in school is important?
Strong links between home and school provide good opportunities for teachers to understand the children, but sometimes the parents do not speak Norwegian or English which can be a barrier for this. Minoritetsrådgivere who speak the language of the parents can help support the link between home and school through guidance and translation.
- Many students, especially with immigrant background were left behind at school, not only because of poor Norwegian proficiency, but also their lack of human resources as many of their parents who barely speak Norwegian, as well as lack of social connection with the mainstream society in Norway. What are Høyre’s proposal to tackle these issues and provide support for these types of family?
More schools should have mentorship-programs where volunteers can be “mentor” for families who want to be included in the Norwegian society and are in need for information about the Norwegian school system.
- Could you share with us what is your view on morsmålsundervisning? It is known as an important factor for many Chinese immigrants here in Norway that their children can speak Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese Chinese, however, the information about morsmålundervisning is not well known among the Chinese community. Do you have any suggestion of how this situation can be improved?
I believe language proficiency is an advantage. Information about morsmålundervisning should be provided by schools.
- We see a clear division between Oslo eastern part of the western part. It seems like immigrants and low-income families are moving to the eastern part, while high income families are moving to the western part. Then we see more crime in the eastern part. Do you think is that a problem? If yes, what can be done to improve it?
It is a problem that we have some areas of Oslo with a higher crime rate but in general, Oslo is a safe city with a low crime rate. Everyone should have equal opportunities, independent of family backgrounds or where they live. A good school can help balance out differences in the standard of living, thus it is essential to secure all children a good education. Høyre has also proposed that children from families with a householding income of less than 1 million NOK can attend Activityschool free-of-charge. We have also proposed a “free-of-charge” after school activity (football, basket, gymnastic etc.) for children of low-income families.
- There are people working in an English speaking environment, or low Norwegian requirement environment. They do not have enough time to attend a Norwegian course after work to improve Norwegian skills. What can be done to help people to improve their Norwegian? What is “Kompetansepluss-ordningen”?
The aim of the Skills Plus is to give adults the opportunity to acquire the basic skills they need to keep up with the demands and changes in modern working life and civil society.
- We see there have been many construction projects in the Oslo city, new museum, new apartment block, and so on. Those construction work have created much noise and dust inside the city. Take Løren as an example. they are building new office buildings there, just a few meters from the living apartment. That generates a lot of noise and dust. People cannot keep their window open. The company say that they have permission from Oslo Kommune to do their work even between 2100 and 2300 in the night. This has surprised many people as how can Kommune allow such work close to people in the night as late as 2300. People are complaining on Facebook. The problem is, we did not find specific law which can regulate this. The current law and regulation is vague and not clear. So, can we expect Høyre to do something about the current regulation of noise and the dust in the city, especially place that is close to the inhabited area?
It is only in rare cases that Oslo kommune gives permission for construction work until 23:00. I am not familiar with this specific case. Good living environments are important for Høyre.
- Many people are protesting with so many bomstasjon around the city. It has cost people a lot for daily commuting such as going to work, picking up kids, visiting friends, going to restaurant in the city, and so on. We are sure Høyre has read and heard many stories about that. So, does Høyre support current policy? Will Høyer propose a different way such as reducing the fee, or changing the way of charging?
We understand that people are frustrated with the toll plaza but without them, we cannot build a new E18, E6 Oslo Øst, Røatunnelen, tube to Fornebu etc. Høyre managed to reduce the fees more than what the current city government proposed. We also want to enable that you only pay once for driving through the tollbooth as many times as you want in the afternoon for a time limit of three hours.
- The subsidy on EL Bil has encouraged many people to buy El Bil, will this support continue in Oslo? Is there any plan to stop it?
It is positive for the environment that people buy electric cars rather than fossil fuel cars, and we want to continue with positive incentives leading people to choose environmentally friendly solutions.
- Many parking slots in the city center have either been wiped out or been reused for other services such as bicycle slot. But on the other hand, city center area has many important services such as restaurant, shopping, hotels. We know many people are also complaining not being able to part, even if they would like to pay high parking fee. At the same time, many bicycle parking places in city center are not really fully used. It has been a waste of resources. Does Høyre support current policy? Will Høyer propose a different way?
We want a city with room for both bicycles and cars. Arbeiderpartiet, Miljøpartiet De Grønne and Sosialistisk Venstreparti by contrast are removing parking slots in the city center just because they can. Høyre wants to re-establish some of the parking slots that have been removed from the city center, but we also want to ensure good parking solutions for bicycles.
- Some people suggesting i
ncreasing the parking fee instead of removing parking slot, so people can still use them if they really need to, and the fee can go to the collective transportation budget. What do you think of such proposal?
It is an interesting proposal.
- Last year, Oslo introduced Beboer Parkering. People who park their car in their own area will have to pay 3000 kr a year. Does Høyre support current policy? Will Høyer propose a different way?
It is up to the districts to decide whether they want to have beboerparkering, but the parking fee should be kept at a minimum and only used to cover the costs of the arrangement.
- Talking of public transportation such as Tbane. We all have experienced many signal problems; as a result, many people schedules have been disturbed. Is there anything on the plan to improve this situation? What is it?
A new signal system will be implemented in 2023-2027.
- The current Storgata legevakt is too small, as we know from ordinary people and doctors, nurses who work there. It is long queue with hours of waiting time. Has Høyre noticed this problem? Does Høyre have any plan to improve this situation?
It has been decided to build a new legevakt. The new one will be ready at Aker in 2023
- The Chinese tourists in Oslo have increased sharply for the recent years, not only that, they spend the most among all the tourists. They are happy most of time, but we also know some problems. The most asked problem, why it is so hard to find a public toilet in Oslo city center area? When you walk from National theatre to Jerbanetorget, or around the Rådhuset area, or around Majorstuen, and Vigeland Park, you can hardly find any sign for public toilet. Would it be a good suggestion for Høyre to introduce more facilities to accommodate it, not only for tourists, but also for local residents?
That is a good input!
- It has been reported on news that Oslo Kommune is planning to prohibit tourist bus in city center, many people are concerned. Will that be a plan of Høyre? Tourists are also hoping the shops in the city center can open in Sunday. Would that be possible?
We do not want to ban tourist buses in the city center, and we want to make it possible for shops to stay open on Sundays.
- We have also noticed that there are several pickpocketing cases with Chinese tourists, what can be done to secure the tourists?
Luckily, we have a low crime rate in Oslo, and it is a safe city for tourists. Pickpocketing is common no matter where you travel so we all must take good care of our belongings, for example don’t leave a purse unattended.
- What factors have inspired you to become a politician and a politician for the party of Høyre?
It is one particular experience that sparked my interest in politics. Many years ago, I had a job where several of my colleagues repeatedly didn’t show up for work. They were not sick or anything, they just skipped work. Høyre’s labour policy – that working must pay off – appealed to me. I believe that it must pay off to work hard both in the classroom and at work. Soon after I became a member of Høyre’s youth party where my political interest grew further.
I also want to point out that Høyre has the better school policy, which is another reason why I am a politician for Høyre. A good education is a key to secure all children the best opportunities in life.
- Could you share with us some of your unique experience during your years working at the school and cultural policy of the city council city committee (skole- og kulturpolitikk i bystyret)
During the years when Høyre was in the city government, we managed to lift Osloskolen to a level where our schools were the best in Norway. From my unique experience in the committee, both as a majority party and in opposition, I can tell how quickly things change. It is easy to demolish something, but it takes years and hard work to build a good school.
- Do you have any advices to immigrants or children of immigrants who aim to become a politician?
Choose a political party that have the same general views as you and with opinions that you agree the most with, and work hard for what you believe in.