The National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students has launched intensive vocational training on several capacities including training on Arab Language. The training which has been underway since November 2020, takes in consideration the hazards and prevention guidelines of Covid-19. It is also scheduled to run for nine months. For more information on regards to the course of Arabic Language, Eriyouth.org the official webpage of the Union, has spoken to the administrator of the course, Mr. Ahmed Omer Sheikh as follows:
Q: What is the importance of Arabic Language to the Eritrean community? And also, specifically, to the youth of Eritrea.
A: Arabic is one of the six languages used in the United Nations. Also, it is the mother tongue of more than half a billion people worldwide. The geographic location of our country lies in area that neighbors Arabic speaking communities and countries. The historic and cultural ties we as a people have with our Arabic speaking neighbors is naturally strong as it has been thriving for centuries. Given such circumstances, it is important for our youth to be equipped with enough knowledge of the language, to foster and perpetuate our relations with our neighbors.
Arabic has served as a communication amongst our communities and foreigners for a long time. During the armed struggle, however, EPLF set the grounds for the language to be institutionalized along the other nine ethic languages of Eritrea. As part of fortifying the national identity, EPLF, has worked on augmenting all ethnic languages and also Arabic. After independence, all schools introduced lessons of native and Arabic languages up until fifth grade to be mandatory. In junior school students learn in English. That is the policy in the Eritrean educational system.
Q: What can you tell us about the courses that NUEYS is now offering?
A: The ongoing course which NUEYS has recently launched is the most organized and the biggest so far. We have two experts of the language, Mr. Mohamed Abdulla and Mr. Qaseem Ahmad, giving the courses in two shifts. Each shift is participated by forty learners. The courses are being held while accommodating Covid-19 prevention guidelines. Despite having started late November last year, it was soon decided to momentarily stop the courses given the spread of the virus. Lessons, were later resumed after the second easing of the lockdown. Our aim is to provide the students with basic communication skills, both on spoken and written Arabic.
Q: Which curriculum is the course based on?
A: Prior to its launch, we conducted several meetings in which, along the instructors, we designed a draft that puts inconsideration several factors. So now we have a solid syllabus and we’re open for further discussions to enhance it.
Q: Which dialect of Arabic does the course offer?
A: The internationally recognized Arabic. At the end of the nine months our learners should be able to write, speak and communicate in Arabic without any problems.
Q: What about its continuity?
A: Things have been on and off because of the pandemic, however, the union has already planned to expand such courses throughout the country so that more people interested in the language can enroll and learn some Arabic.
Q: Who can enroll in the course?
A: Anyone interested, but as this is the just the start of a bigger vision, for now, partakers of the course are members of several offices and branches of PFDJ, The National Union of Eritrean Workers, the National Union of Eritrean Women, the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students as well as employees of several ministries such as Ministries of Information, Health, Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Eritrean Police and the Commission of Culture and Sports. And we are expecting more people from different organizations and offices as we plan to expand the course.
Q: Best wishes!
Translated by Billion Temesghen