Jordan 'Arabic Test' Requirement For Public School Teachers Stiffens Back of Many

Published August 15th, 2018 - 07:56 GMT
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)

A communiqué by the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) which requires candidates willing to teach at public schools to pass the National Arabic Language Test has generated mixed reactions among language advocates and raised teachers’ concerns.

“The test will become an obstacle for teachers who are competent in their specialisation but not in Arabic grammar,” IT teacher Mamoun Qaryouti said, adding “I believe providing courses and testi

He said that only the specialisations in humanities require the language skills, so the exam might be “unfair” to technical and scientific majors.

The recent CSB communiqué came as an implementation of Article 10 of the Arabic Language Protection Law #35 for 2015, which states that “teachers, higher education faculty members, and media presenters and editors should not be hired until they pass the National Arabic Language Test, with exception to candidates who are non-Arabic speakers”.

The statement noted that the Jordanian Institution (Majmaa) of Arabic Language is responsible for conducting the test and issuing the results, not the bureau.

The institution spokesperson, Athraa Ysjeen, said that the law aims to protect Arabic and enhance the level of spoken and written language in educational and media institutions.

Khalil Numan, a retired Arabic teacher, praised the decision, calling for placing further attention on the Arabic Language.

“Teachers wouldn’t fear the test if they were well educated in their language,” he told The Jordan Times, stressing “students should have a solid foundation in Arabic through several mandatory courses for all specialisations”.

For Amani Hatem, a PhD holder of Arabic Language and Literature, the test is “meaningless”. “The university students of most majors, especially the scientific ones, have been asked to study all courses in English, so why are they now asked to pass an Arabic test?” she asked, adding “a single test upon employment will not protect Arabic, but rather adopting the languages in all the country’s aspects”.

Abdullah Abu Shmeis, a poet and a PhD holder of Arabic Language and Literature, said he supports the idea in general, but stressed the importance of how it will be implemented.

“I think the test should vary in accordance with the job itself as the language skills needed by a researcher are different than those needed by a math teacher,” Abu Shmeis told The Jordan Times, describing the test as a “waste of time” if it wasn’t well designed by language experts. 

Several social media users praised the decision, complaining that “many teachers write notes that are full of mistakes”.

Meanwhile, the teachers’ reactions on social media expressed anger over the decision, claiming that it is only a way to “toughen the employment process” and “collect more money from the test fees”.

Yasjeen stressed that the institution conducts regular training sessions for the test applicants, noting that the test will only be required from candidates whose recruitment decisions were issued after the announcement of implementing the law, which was endorsed in 2015, but came into effect at the beginning of 2018.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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