Arabic language: a first certification recognized worldwide

By formalizing on April 15 the launch of the first international certificate of proficiency in Arabic (Cima), the Arab World Institute (IMA) provides the 5th most spoken language in the world with an evaluation system to justify the level of a candidate. Like the TOEIC and TOEFL tests for English, the TCF for French or the DELE for Spanish. From the first studies to the pilot sessions, it took three years for the management of the IMA to develop this diploma., under the expertise of the International Center for Educational Studies (CIEP), the Ministry of National Education and the skills sponsorship of Nokia. “Despite what the Blanquer law has decided to commit to in terms of multilingual education, there are shortcomings from primary to university,” says Jack Lang, president of the IMA.

Aligned with the standards of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), the Cima assesses six levels of knowledge (from A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2) and four skills : written comprehension, oral comprehension, written expression and oral expression. “These are texts in literal Arabic, the language common to all Arab countries, specifies Mojeb Al Zahrani, director general of the IMA. This is the language used in the media, on the Internet, in institutions or literature, from Baghdad to Rabat.”

Fourteen centers are approved, to date, in Europe and the Arab world. The Cima is already arousing interest in higher education. “More and more of our students are choosing Arabic in their international studies, confirms Isabelle Amblard, coordinator of the language department at Sciences po. The Cima interests us to make it a proposed option, like the TOEFL, to assess our students from level B2.”

We recognize Arabic as a universal language that must be defended tooth and nail and taught by public institutions.
(J. Lang)

Same story from the side of the Polytechnic school: its coordinator of the language department says she is “ready to consider collaboration” to enhance her own training courses.

The first session in Paris will take place on June 6 (registration deadline May 20), a few days after that of the Lycée Paul Valéry in Meknes, Morocco. The result obtained will give rise to the issuance of a certificate valid for three years. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for years, says Mojeb Al Zahrani, very moved. I taught in Algiers and Abu Dhabi. Every time I was asked about the existence of a certification, I had no answer. Today, Arabic is given a scientifically established tool. This will enhance this language which, until now, suffers from its image in the linguistic space in France and in the world.”

Well anchored in the straight line of its mission to promote the Arabic language, the IMA thus embodies a real change in mentalities. A way to fight against prejudices around a language which has nevertheless largely contributed to the universal heritage of knowledge. “Let’s not hide our pleasure, smiles Jack Lang. We recognize Arabic as a universal language which must be defended tooth and nail and taught by public institutions”. Next steps ? The extension of the number of examination centers, the computerization of all documents related to the Cima from 2020 and the ambition to assess young people under the age of 15.

The Cima in practice
No level or preparation is required to register for Cima. From high school students to employees, including job seekers, anyone over the age of 15 can register for the tests for academic, professional or personal purposes. It takes 2h30 to pass the test. The exam takes place in four parts (oral comprehension: 35 minutes; written comprehension: 45 minutes; written expression: 60 minutes and oral expression: 10 minutes).

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