Call for radical review of Arabic exam

TCD lecturer says exam is not suitable for students growing up in a non-Arabic country

Dr Ali Selim: ‘Much of the material on the syllabus is ancient and contains language that even Arabic speakers would have difficulty understanding.’ Photograph: Dave Meehan

Dr Ali Selim: ‘Much of the material on the syllabus is ancient and contains language that even Arabic speakers would have difficulty understanding.’ Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

A TCD lecturer in Arabic has called on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to conduct a “radical review” of the Leaving Certificate Arabic exam.

Dr Ali Selim said the exam, which was originally designed for students in Libya, is not suitable for students growing up in a non-Arabic country.

Commenting on yesterday’s paper Dr Selim, a senior staff member at the Islamic Cultural Centre, said, “There is far too much grammar to learn – 59 items in total – and much of the material on the syllabus is ancient and contains language that even Arabic speakers would have difficulty understanding.”

Dr Selim said that one of the core texts on the syllabus, a Sudanese novel entitled Urs Al-Zayn (The Wedding of Zein) by Al-Tayyib Salih, does not constitute “decent literature”.

Yesterday’s Arabic exam was taken by 154 students.