UNIVERSITY of Dar es Salaam through the Institute of Swahili Studies (ISS) will effective next February start issuing International Swahili Proficiency Test certificates.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Dr Leonard Akwilapo broke the good news saying the move responds to Swahili becoming among top ten languages with many users globally.
Dr Akwilapo said the proficiency test certificate will certify its holder as an expert in the language as similar proficiency test certificates in English, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.
“Kiswahili was recently adopted as the fourth Southern Africa Development Community’s (SADC) official language, its proficiency therefore should be authenticated as well,” said Dr Akwilapo.
The ISS will effective next February prepare and issue exams on the language proficiency test, with a number of international universities having signed agreements with the country’s oldest higher learning institution.
“The University of Dar es Salaam has signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with various international universities, those in need of the Kiswahili proficiency test can register for the exams as is the case for English as a foreign language, among others,” he said.
Currently, UDSM is finalising information communication technology infrastructure prior to the official take off because students will be writing the exams from their respective places of domicile, said Dr Akwilapo.
He added that the move, among others, aims at promoting Swahili and making it a negotiating tool in a number of deals with people from all walks of life.
“This is a starting pointbut with time, a number of international organisations, when looking for Kiswahili expert will recommend those with the proficiency test,” said Dr Akwilapo.
The Kiswahili institute will be conducting six examinations annually in the selected examination centres worldwide, targeting candidates seeking to use Kiswahili as their second language.
Professor Aldin Mutembei from the institute said the package will serve many medical, construction, business and engineering experts seeking recognition as competent in Kiswahili language.
In future, he said, the competence certification might become a requirement for foreigners intending to pursue studies in the country.