Workshop on Teaching Arabic in Turkish Higher Education Held
April 6, 2017 / Ankara
For the first time in the history of CoHE, a workshop was held in order for academics to thoroughly evaluate the issues on the teaching of Arabic in Turkish higher education institutions.
In addition to Prof. Hasan Mandal, Deputy President of CoHE, and Prof. Rahmi Er, Executive Member of CoHE and President of Workshop Organizing Committee, academics from the Faculty of Theology and Islamic Sciences and Departments of Arabic Language and Literature, Arabic Language Education, Arabic Language and Linguistics, Arabic Language Teaching and Translation and Interpreting (Arabic) participated in the "Workshop on Teaching Arabic in Turkish Higher Education" held in the Conference Hall of the Council of Higher Education.
At the opening of the workshop where all aspects of Arabic teaching in universities were discussed, CoHE Deputy President Prof. Hasan Mandal and CoHE Executive Member Prof. Rahmi Er both made a speech.
Prof. Hasan Mandal started his speech by saying that the number of students in Turkey is higher than the population of many European countries and that this is an important opportunity for Turkey.
Emphasizing that there are 7.3 million students and more than 150 academic staff in 182 universities in Turkey, Prof. Mandal noted that they have been trying to transform the growth of higher education from quantitative growth to qualitative growth in the last two to two and a half years, highlighting that one of the qualitative growth parameters is language education.
Prof. Hasan Mandal added that the number of international students in Turkey has exceeded 100.000. He emphasized that when this number is compared with 7.300.000 students, the figure of 100.000 is not very high but that it is a high figure in terms of student population.
CoHE Deputy President, underlining that CoHE is no longer an observer but a guide when it comes to the developments in the world, said that they were conducting studies to make refugee students from Syria and Iraq participate in the Turkish higher education system.
Mandal stated that some regulations were made in the field of language education in higher education and said, "Today, Arabic happens to be among the priority topics we take notice of when we regulate many of our policies. We asked the question 'Who can teach in this language?' with the new regulation made last year and it was gladly welcomed."
Prof. Mandal said that CoHE introduced the YÖKDİL exam in the last months. He emphasized that the exam was first conducted for the English language and that many people requested that the exam would also be conducted for the Arabic language in a survey about the exam.
After Prof. Hasan Mandal's speech, Prof. Rahmi Er made the opening speech of the workshop. Prof. Rahmi Er stated that they decided to discuss the topic of Arabic teaching in Turkish higher education thoroughly with the experts.
Prof. Er said that students from the Department of Turkish Studies of the countries, from the Balkans to the Far East, speak Turkish when they are traveling abroad and that Arabic students in Turkey are hesitant to even express their daily needs in Arabic.
Prof. Er emphasized that the meeting was very important in this context and said that there are about 6.000 students in the Departments of Arabic Language and Literature, Arabic Translation and Interpreting and Arabic Language Teaching in 70 universities.
CoHE Executive Member Er stated that there are 324.000 students in the preparatory classes of the Theology programs and about 232.000 students in the Faculty of Open Education. He noted that there are 556.000 students in the related fields.
Prof. Rahmi Er added that the number of students in these fields is equal to 8% of the total number of students. He stated that the number of academic staff is 709 and that this figure corresponds to 5% of the total number.
Prof. Er said that there are three pillars of education and that these pillars are students, the recipients, instructors, the donors, and places where education and training take place. He said, "We will discuss two of these three pillars in detail with you, one of the most important stakeholders in Arabic teaching today, and make a series of recommendations about what needs to be done."
CoHE Executive Member Er said that he believed the workshop would create a "road map" for Arabic teaching in Turkish higher education and completed his speech by wishing that the workshop would be fruitful.
Following the opening speeches, all working groups came together and had a round table meeting before working in groups.
In order to make recommendations for the workshop, discussions were carried out in working groups under the topics fundamental problems, training of qualified academic staff, material development and technology use, teaching techniques and teaching of language skills, measurement and evaluation, regulation of classroom and learning environments" in Arabic teaching in Turkish Higher Education.
The texts containing the recommendations made by the 6 session groups of the workshop were discussed by the moderators at a meeting attended by all participants.
At the end of the workshop, it was decided that the recommendations made by the workshop groups would be combined into a joint text and submitted to the Council of Higher Education.