CAIRO: Proficiency in Arabic should be a prerequisite for those seeking government jobs in Egypt, according to an organization seeking to save the language.
The Egyptian Arabic Language Academy has made a number of recommendations to education ministries aimed at protecting the language from the influence of foreign technology and education, which it says is harming the language skills of children and students.
“Any society neglecting its language is giving up its culture, widening the gap between its children and their culture, heritage and values,” academy member Mohammed Hassan Al-Mursi told Arab News.
A nation’s sovereignty and independence are also linked to its language, he said.
“Language is the umbilical cord that connects the generations of the era with the culture and civilization of their ancestors.”
Al-Mursi said that Arabic is under threat because of the influence of foreign languages, which leads to “alienation from cultural and linguistic identity.”
He said that this included a preference for slang and its use as a substitute for classical Arabic dialect.
Mahmoud Al-Rubaie, a member of the academy’s education committee, said that the committee’s recommendations aim to protect Arabic from colloquial and foreign languages.
Arabic language books in general education should be reviewed and fundamental amendments made to some literary texts, he said.
Most prescribed stories lack an “interesting artistic narrative style,” Al-Rubaie said.
“Some of the stories, including the poetry taught to children, are written by novice authors, which does not raise children’s awareness and expand their perceptions of the language.
“We discussed this matter and we will review it, and we seek to search for well-established stories and poems so that children can learn from them,” he said.
“The committee believes that those responsible for education should pay attention to oral skills, which are very important.
“The language is mostly oral. If the spoken language is absent from the taught language, then we are not teaching the language fully.”
Al-Rubaie said that the committee recommended that proficiency in the Arabic language should be a prerequisite for those wishing to work in the Egyptian state.
It planned to stage national conferences to discuss the teaching of Arabic, and to present “proposals and visions to keep pace with the times.”
The academy highlighted the need for a special electronic platform to communicate with Egyptians abroad in order to meet their linguistic and literary needs.
The committee will also hold an annual competition for Egyptians abroad covering linguistic and literary topics.