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Emirates News Agency – IGCF 2023 pushes for innovative approaches to boost capacities of language learners


Sep 15, 2023

SHARJAH, 14th September, 2023 (WAM) — At the heart of the vibrant Sharjah Expo Centre, the second day of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) 2023, bore witness to a thought-provoking session held in Seminar Room Two, focusing on assessing and evaluating the Arabic language within the educational sphere and beyond. The central purpose of the discussion was to scrutinise the challenge of Arabic education by evaluating the role and relevance of Arabic language assessment.

In the opening remarks, guests expressed profound gratitude towards the UAE for its relentless efforts in catapulting the Arabic language onto the global stage, recognising it as not merely a tool of communication but a vessel that carries the rich tapestry of culture and heritage.

Moderated by Aiad Darwish, the session explored the realm of English assessment examinations like IELTS and TOEFL, setting the stage for a contemplative examination of whether such assessments should be adopted for the Arabic language as a measure of evaluating linguistics capacities of learners and to work on the language skills to improve.

Dr. Samer Zaghloul, a scholar and expert in the field, articulated the significance of having a comprehensive language assessment test for the Arabic language, asserting that such a tool would facilitate a seamless evaluation of learners’ linguistic skills and capabilities. Yet, as he pointed out, “implementing such an assessment remains at the crossroads of individual initiatives and institutional decisions, signalling a need for concerted efforts to realise this goal.

A pivotal aspect highlighted during the session was the necessity of creating a unified Arabic glossary transcending the different variations to effectively steer the language assessment process, underscoring the indispensable role of language proficiency tests as a crucial benchmark in evaluating competence.

Dr. Aisha Al Yamahi, an advisor on the Board of Directors at Alef Education, noted the absence of standardised Arabic language assessment criteria, emphasising the impartiality inherent in such a system. She argued that an assessment system would empower education authorities to evaluate the learning trajectory and tailor curricula to the specific needs of learners.

Dr. Al Yamahi highlighted the necessity of an evaluation assessment tool enabling parents to gauge their children’s reading proficiency and actively enhance the learning process—an essential component conspicuously lacking in the Arab world’s educational landscape.

Addressing the challenge of surmounting linguistic variations within the Arabic language, Malak Obeid, Product Manager at Alef Education, noted that assessing language skills at the primary level is paramount to smoothing the learning journey, thus rendering a uniform criterion indispensable. The session also touched upon Arabic reading skills, a puzzle that has eluded effective resolution.

In a subsequent session, titled “Dhad Pronounced by Youth” and organised by the Arabic Language Youth Council, Asmr Muhammed, a content creator from Egypt, voiced his concerns about the complexity of Arabic teaching methods in the early stages. These complexities, he argued, served as a deterrent, dissuading young Arabic learners from mastering their mother tongue.

Ahmed Rushdan, a venerable content creator affiliated with the Arabic Reading Challenge, extolled the virtues of reading challenges as catalysts for motivating children to embrace the Arabic language wholeheartedly.

Ammar Susu, an AI expert, discussed the possibility of harnessing technology to promote and showcase the Arabic language. He underscored the imperative of establishing machine modules in Arabic—a vital step that could substantially enrich the corpus of Arabic content. His vision is anchored in the belief that these modules would function seamlessly and contribute to the luxury of the Arabic language.

This session was part of numerous insightful discussions, seminars, and workshops held over two days at Expo Centre Sharjah. The IGCF’s session on Arabic language assessment and education evaluation unveiled a mosaic of challenges and aspirations, converging towards a singular goal—elevating the Arabic language to its rightful global stature.

By admin