Tunisia, 28 May-2014: Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki called on Tuesday for approving Arabic as the main language for all levels of education in his country, according to the news website Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed.
In his inauguration speech for the 22nd session of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO), Turkish Anadolu Agency quoted him as saying: “We must approve Arabic as the main language for education at all levels. We can overcome this challenge.”
Marzouki criticised his country’s current educational curricula, pointing out that: “Autocratic governments adopted a corrupted system where students are obliged to shift from using Arabic to French in the middle of their secondary stage of education.
“As they are not proficient in French, this results in disaster—generations proficient in neither Arabic nor French.” This has been Tunisia’s education policy since it gained independence in 1956.
Media reports have shown a retreat in the Arabic speaking skills of Tunisian students because they rarely use the mother longue and heavily use English and French.
Marzouki launched a cultural project during the Arab League meeting in 2013 aiming to highlight the role of Arabic language in the scientific and technological development of Arab nations.
Senior Arab officials inaugurated the 22nd ALECSO conference on Tuesday in Tunis. The two-day conference will cover several issues, including last year and next year’s budget for the organisation, as well as cooperation in the educational and cultural fields among Arab nations.
ALECSO is a Tunis-based institution of the Arab League, established in accordance with article 3 of the Arab Cultural Unity Charter by an announcement made in Cairo on 25 July 1970. ALECSO works to coordinate cultural and educational activities in the Arab world.