Project: Macedonian as a Foreign Language Curriculum Upgrading MaFoLaC
Project Period: February 2010 – July 2012
The Consortium of this project consist of seven partner Universities:
University "SS.Cyril and Methodius" of Skopje
University "Goce Delcev" of Stip
University "St. Kliment Ohridski" of Bitola
University American College of Skopje
Jagiellonian University in Krakow (PL)
University from Ljubljana (SI)
University of Bedforshire (UK)
In order to achieve the project objectives, MK universities have to resolve the following five major problems: 1. the incomplete (CaMU) or non-existing (UGD, UKO, UAC) curriculum model for teaching Macedonian as a foreign language, 2. the lack of know-how to design course books for teaching Macedonian as a foreign language at all three levels (A1, B1 and C1) according to CEFR; 3. defining suitable testing and grading procedures for C1 level, thus preparing correspondingly structured documentation according to European standards, 4) the lack of equipment and 5) introducing sustainable inter-university academic co-operation and harmonization of the curricula.
1. The incomplete or non-existing curricula model. The CaMU was a beneficiary institution in a previous successfully completed SM Tempus project with a main objective of founding a Macedonian as a Foreign Language Testing and Certifying Center and introducing the segment of testing and certifying in the teaching process of Macedonian as a foreign language. In the course of that project implementation, the working team saw the necessity of upgrading the existing curriculum of Macedonian as a foreign languge, since this curriculum was developed under the old out-dated programs. However one of the main outcomes of that project, the fully developed Test of Macedonian as a Foreign Language - TEMAK at intermediate level with appropriate testing documentation, could not be fully incorporated in the ongoing curriculum of Macedonian as a foreign language, since the test is designed on a communicative approach based model, whereas the existing curriculum is designed on structural grammar based approach. In the period that followed after the termination of the TEMPUS SM project, the Macedonian team initiated and successfully finalized a project under the UNESCO program with a single aim of developing TEMAK at basic level (A1), which as well can not be integrated in the out-dated current curriculum. Furthermore a need clearly arises to divide the curriculum for Teachers of Macedonian as a native language and Macedonian as a foreign language. The module for Teachers in Macedonian as a foreign language is intended to be a completely new module. In sum, the amendments to the existing curricula as well as their modification and harmonization with the European programs in the field of teaching the native language as foreign remains to be fulfilled through this project. Of course, that aim can not be accomplished without prior training of CaMU academic staff by European experienced and proffessional academic staff.
2. The lack of know-how to design course books for teaching Macedonian as a foreign language at all three levels (A1, B1 and C1). The teaching process of the study group Macedonian as a foreign language is carried out by highly qualified academic staff of the Blazhe Koneski Faculty of Philology, Department of Macedonian and South Slavic Languages and the Center for Testing and Certifying Macedonian as a Foreign/Second Language - Cetis Mak. However, the teaching process has been carried out by using old manuals and textbooks with out-dated methodology. Furthermore each of these manuals is composed by a different author using old methodology, targeting various study groups and they all differ in size and concept. The result of such situation is the unpleasent fact that each lecturer teaching Macedonian as a foreign language chooses different teaching materials, most often combining topics from different course books. The recently designed TEMAK - A1 and TEMAK - B1 according to European standards (also the planned TEMAK - C1), as well as the curricula reformed through this project inevitably lead to designing three new coherent and correspondingly designed course books for teaching Macedonian as a foreign language on A1, B1 and C1 levels. For this purpose, CaMU academic staff has to be properly trained by its experienced univeristy colleagues from the EU.
3. Defining suitable testing and grading procedures for C1 level according to European standards. The SS. Cyril and Methodius University developed two tests in Macedonian as a foreign language according to European standards, accompanied by the corresponding documentation - grading scales, certificates and 3 guidelines (Guidelines for Candidates, Guidelines for Examiners and raters and Guidelines for Item-writers). The Test of Macedonian as a Foreign Language at intermediate level was developped under the TEMPUS project program in the academic year 2007/2008 and the TEMAK at basic level was developped under the UNESCO program in the academic year 2008/2009. As a logical continuation and completion of the tesing and certifying process in Macedonian as a foreign language, CaMU needs to develop the third level TEMAK test - advanced level C1. In order this aim to be accomplished, one segment of the proposed project focuses on training of CaMU academic staff for designing this test and corresponding materials according to European standards. The advanced level being the highest level of assessing language competence is the most comprehensive and the most time consuming and can only be realized through training and project activities.
4. The lack of equipment. Through the previous TEMPUS project, an office room of the Center for Testing and Certifying Macedonian as a Foreign/Second Language was fully equipped with the necessary IT and office equipment, thus enabling undistracted functioning of Cetis Mak. However, in order to completely prepare the functioning of the classroom where the teaching process for Macedonian as a foreign language will be carried out, according to new methodologies, CaMU needs appropriate equipment, consisting of IT units and phonolaboratory. Especially for that purpose CaMU will allocate a classroom with additional library space, completely rearranged and with installed connections for Internet and telephone. The new equipment will help teachers use up-dated methodologies and adequate materials in the teaching process.
5. Introducing sustainable inter-university academic co-operation and harmonization of the curricula. Through addressing the problems of non-harmonized and inadequate curricula and the lack of teaching materials as well as the lack of equipment, CaMU is simultaneously addressing the problems of its three partner universities on national level. Like CaMU, the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Bitola - UKO, the Goce Delchev University of Shtip - UGD and the University American College - UAC are facing the problems of non-existing or out-dated (non-synchronized with the Bologna process) curricula for teaching Macedonian as a foreign language as well as the lack of equipment for carrying out the teaching process. So far each of these institutions has tried to cope with these problems in their own ways. The initiation of this project even in this early stage of project proposal clearly showed to all partners involved that co-operation on these matters is not only necessary but is extremly beneficial. It gives rise to the future sustainable university partnership and to enhancing mutual understanding among the academic institutions on national as well on international level.