Touqan – Language, Academic Skills and Digital Tools for Newcomers
Ivan Al-Azm, 2019
Hanna, Sima and Tarek are Newcomers to Switzerland. Hanna would like to study at university but she doesn’t think she has the right skills. Sima would like to study architecture but she has a CEFR1 B2 in German and higher education requires C1. Tarek would like to work in sales but lacks the necessary language level. Touqan is a further education preparation programme that focuses on language development for higher education and further study specifically designed for refugees and Newcomers and prepares students for the challenges of further education and academic success. Touqan meets these needs by providing the necessary language, academic skills as well as the digital tools and skills they need to reach their educational goals. The service provides the pathways for Hanna, Sima and Tarek to fulfill their objectives. Those wishing to pursue vocational training and an apprenticeship stop at the end of the B2 and take an official German language exam and those who want to continue to higher education must take an official German C1 language exam because it is an admission requirement. How does this service work? Each student takes a language test so they can be placed in the appropriate language level: B1, B2 or C1. For example, Tarek enters at the B1, Hanna enters at the B2 level, Sima enters at the C1 level. In terms of language development, the B1 level focuses on consolidating previous knowledge and building a solid base. The B2 level includes further language development and the C1 level focuses on language proficiency. In terms of educational skills, the B1 level includes study skills, the B2 and C1 levels include academic skills that students will need in their studies. However, the C1 level is more academically oriented. Each level also includes digital skills development. At the end of B2, Tarek can pursue a career in sales. Sima completes the C1 level and takes a recognized German language exam such and enrolls in university. Hanna continues to C1 after which she will take an official language exam, bringing her closer to her goal.