Council of Europe experts urge Cypriot authorities to further promote instruction of Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic

Cypriot authorities are encouraged to further promote the teaching and study of the Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic languages and culture, said the latest evaluation of the Implementation of the Recommendations for Immediate Action, contained in the 2021 Committee of Experts’ sixth evaluation report on Cyprus, under the auspices of the Council of Europe. The mid-term report, adopted last week by the Committee, assesses how previous ‘recommendations for immediate action’ have been followed up and includes further immediate actions recommendations, such as strengthening and extending the teaching of Cypriot Maronite Arabic, providing teacher training for Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic, promoting the study and research on Armenian at university level and strengthening the presence of Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic in broadcasting. In terms of training of teachers of Armenian, while welcoming funding for introduction of Armenian in upper secondary education and steps taken for teacher training in courses, the Committee considers that besides these courses a ‘more structured teacher training’ is necessary in order to provide teachers with adequate qualification for teaching at the secondary level of education. In addition, based on the positive experience of a similar revitalisation project started in 2013 in respect of Cypriot Maronite Arabic, the Committee of Experts expects that the CARMELA project, launched in December 2022 in collaboration with the speakers and the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth to be completed by 30 November 2024, will be of ‘great importance for the preservation of the Armenian language and cultural heritage’ and encourages Cypriot state authorities to present the progress of this project in the next periodical report. The report also encourages the University of Cyprus to extend the offer of teaching modules on Armenian history in co-operation with speakers, while in order to raise further awareness of Armenian language and culture in Cyprus, the Committee of Experts invites the authorities to explore the possibility to present the results of both initiatives through electronic media in co-operation with the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation. In terms of basic and further training of teachers of Cypriot Maronite Arabic, the report notes that the authorities have taken steps in order to enhance teacher training and invites the national authorities to report in the next periodical report on how many of the participants who took the training in the Annual Summer Linguistic Camp have actually been enrolled as teachers of Cypriot Maronite Arabic, while information on the impact of the new textbook and on the plans for further teacher training is also expected in the next periodical report. As regards preschool education in Cypriot Maronite Arabic, the report welcomes that the use of the language began in pre-school in October 2022, however the exact duration of the weekly teaching remains unclear. It is added that the Committee of Experts reiterates its position that less than three hours per week of teaching of a minority language is not sufficient for the preservation and development of language skills, it therefore encourages the authorities of Cyprus to increase the use of Cypriot Maronite Arabic in pre-school education.

Source: Cyprus News Agency