On the second day of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) 2023, a captivating session was held at the bustling Sharjah Expo Centre. The session, hosted in Seminar Room Two, delved into the assessment and evaluation of the Arabic language within the educational landscape and beyond. It aimed to scrutinize the challenges faced by Arabic education while assessing the role and relevance of Arabic language assessment.
During the opening remarks, attendees expressed profound appreciation for the UAE’s relentless efforts in elevating the Arabic language to global prominence. The language was acknowledged not merely as a means of communication but as a vessel that carries the rich tapestry of culture and heritage.
Moderated by Aiad Darwish, the session initially explored English assessment examinations like IELTS and TOEFL, setting the stage for contemplation on whether similar assessments should be adopted for the Arabic language to evaluate learners’ linguistic capacities and enhance language skills.
Dr. Samer Zaghloul, a scholar and expert in the field, emphasized the importance of a comprehensive language assessment test for Arabic. Such a tool, he argued, would enable seamless evaluation of learners’ linguistic skills and capabilities. However, he noted that implementing such an assessment is at the intersection of individual initiatives and institutional decisions, highlighting the need for collective efforts to achieve this goal.
A pivotal aspect highlighted during the session was the necessity of creating a unified Arabic glossary that transcends linguistic variations. Such a glossary would effectively guide the language assessment process and underscore the crucial role of language proficiency tests in evaluating competence.
Dr. Aisha Al Yamahi, an advisor on the Board of Directors at Alef Education, underscored the absence of standardized Arabic language assessment criteria and emphasized the impartiality inherent in such a system. She argued that an assessment system would empower education authorities to evaluate learning trajectories and tailor curricula to learners’ specific needs.
The session also addressed the challenge of linguistic variations within the Arabic language. Malak Obeid, Product Manager at Alef Education, highlighted the importance of assessing language skills at the primary level to facilitate a uniform criterion and smooth the learning journey. Arabic reading skills, a complex issue, were also discussed.
In a subsequent session titled “Dhad Pronounced by Youth,” organized by the Arabic Language Youth Council, content creators voiced concerns about the complexity of Arabic teaching methods for young learners. They discussed how these complexities deter young Arabic learners from mastering their mother tongue.
The session unveiled a mosaic of challenges and aspirations, all converging toward a common goal—elevating the Arabic language to its rightful global stature. It was part of the insightful discussions, seminars, and workshops held over two days at Expo Centre Sharjah during IGCF 2023.