Promoting the teaching and learning of the Serbian language in Britain and standardising the way it is taught in the Serbian Diaspora has been a top priority of the Serbian Council since 2011. We have done this through the Round Table of Serbian organisations so that there is buy in from the whole of the community.
We have had great success in our work and shows what can be achieved when we work together for the benefit of the community. We have learnt that the best way of teaching many of our young people Serbian is to teach it as an additional language and we have an approach to do so which is familiar to them and reflects the way they learn other languages. We have designed and delivered our own GCSE level course that has been taught across the country, in London, Corby, Reading, Oxford and Leicester, and a course for younger learners which has been taught in Reading, Oxford and Leicester. We have campaigned in Britain and Serbia for a recognised qualification in Serbian for older learners and when this failed to produce results, we developed a partnership with the Azbukum Centre which allows us to offer such a qualification. We organised a teacher training workshop to develop a cadre of teachers confident in teaching Serbian as an additional language and co-operated with other Serbian communities in other to encourage standardisation of the way Serbian is taught in the diaspora.
For the first time in Britain a Learning Framework for Serbian as an Additional Language was developed for 3 to 11 year olds. It was successfully piloted at the Reading school from 2013 and then for a number of years in Reading, Oxford and Leicester.
GCSE Level Courses
99 students have taken the exam over four cohorts and achieved outstanding results thanks to the hard work of the students and their teachers. The grades they gained were 42 A*s, 33 As, 15Bs, 8Cs and 1D.
We have held four Award Ceremonies in five star hotels and a school to celebrate the achievements of students and to receive their certificatestheir and certificates were presented by famous Serbs – Branislav Ivanović, Namanja Matić, Branislav Lečić, Marko Grabež, and Roksanda Ilinčić.
Students have included their Serbian Certificate in their Record of Achievement, as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award and to gain entry to Serbian and British Universities.
Workshop on Serbian Language in the Diaspora
In October 2018 a two-day workshop was held in London to explore the way Serbian is taught in the diaspora. Participants were mainly academics and teachers of the Serbian language from Britain, Austria, USA, Serbia and with a written input from Switzerland. The workshop focused on the work of the Azbukum Centre for Serbian Language and Culture in Serrbia which had been teaching Serbian as a foreign or non-native language since 1995, and whose courses had been officially accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia in 2017 and were recognised across Europe. The workshop provided the foundation for the development of a partnership between the Round Table and the Azbukum Centre to deliver Azbukum courses in Britain.
Several teachers from Britain have completed 12 week training course to enable them to teach Azbukum courses in Britain.
The Azbukum Serbian Language Course at GCSE and A Level with a recognised qualification
In 2019 we realised our top priority when we began teaching the Azbukum Serbian language course at GCSE and A Level. The 9 month course offers students a qualification at the end of the course accredited by the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and which is recognised in Britain, Europe and beyond. Even the coronavirus pandemic has not defeated us and students have continued classes on line and will graduate in mid-July as planned.
We will continue our work in this area and from September 2020 we hope to run another the Azbukum course Click here for details about the course. We will also focus on how wexplore how we can draw together the different initiatives for teaching Serbian in Britain, including dopunske skole, so that they can have the most impact.