The Centre for Slovene as a Second and Foreign Language, which operates under the auspices of the Department of Slovene Studies at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, is recognised in Slovenia and abroad, in both academic circles and by the wider public, as the central organisation in the field of Slovene as a second and foreign language. Through its programmes it meets all the needs of the field and of Slovene language, literature and culture, as well as promoting Slovene Studies internationally.
The Centre’s activities comprise:
- teaching Slovene as a second or foreign language in different environments and at different levels, at home and abroad;
- implementation of the programme of Slovene Studies at foreign universities;
- assessment and certification of knowledge of Slovene as a second and foreign language;
- training of teachers, examiners and examination assessors and of other interested groups in the field of teaching, testing and planning of Slovene as a second and foreign language;
- advising institutions in the Republic of Slovenia and abroad in the field of Slovene as a foreign and second language;
- basic and applied research in the field of Slovene as a second and foreign language and the assessment of language skills in general;
- awareness raising and dissemination of Slovene language, literature and culture at home and abroad;
- facilitating and encouraging academic research into Slovene language, literature and culture at home and abroad;
- organisation of academic and professional gatherings of Slovene and international participants, and other educational and cultural events in Slovenia and at universities abroad;
- publication of research and academic works, textbooks and teachers’ books in the above fields.
The diverse programmes (there are currently eight) have been combined within the framework of the Centre since 1992, while the oldest programme has been in existence since 1965. The scope and complexity of activities have recently been increasing as a result of social needs, the needs of target communities, the requirements of the market and the development of the field.
The activities that are carried out at the Centre on behalf of the Slovene state are: the implementation of the programme of Slovene lectureships at universities around the world; the certification of knowledge of Slovene as a foreign language (issuing state-approved certificates of knowledge of Slovene as a foreign language for citizenship, employment, education, etc.); the preparation of programmes and curricula for the successful inclusion of migrant children, pupils and students into the education system in Slovenia; the implementation of special educational programmes in Slovene (seminars, courses) for participants with scholarships through which the Republic of Slovenia fulfils obligations from bilateral agreements and cooperation programmes; in addition, participants from neighbouring states and from among Slovene emigrant communities can attend summer school.
The activities are carried out in line with the state-approved programme in Slovene as a Second and Foreign Language.
The development of the field and of the infrastructure of Slovene as a second and foreign language at the Centre comprises of teaching, testing, researching, academic training and advising. In more detail:
- lectureships and Slovene study programmes and contacts with over 60 universities around the world with Slovene Studies programmes;
- education and training for teachers of Slovene as a second and foreign language at foreign universities and on Slovene courses, for teachers in primary and secondary schools, teachers in cross-border areas and among Slovene immigrants abroad, as well as for examiners;
- development of the methodology of teaching Slovene as a second and foreign language;
- development of teaching materials and publishing (over 20 textbooks and other materials);
- development of language testing and implementation of state-approved exams (2000 a year), management and supervision of over 10 external examination providers, membership of the international organisation ALTE;
- participation in national and other working groups drawing up systemic solutions in the field of Slovene as a second and foreign language, participation on expert commissions;
- giving papers at academic conferences and international gatherings, academic publications;
- advising state and other public institutions and individuals in connection with the field of Slovene as a second and foreign language, in Slovenia and abroad;
- development of special programmes and curricula for adults, children and young adults;
- organisation of academic and professional meetings: the Seminar of Slovene Language, Literature and Culture (since 1965), the Obdobja Symposium (since 1979), consultations, round table discussions, etc.;
- acquisition, management and implementation of projects – EU projects (Socrates, Grundtvig, Leonardo, Tempus, ESS) and other international projects and special projects organised by the Centre – over 30 successfully implemented, recipients of 6 European Language Labels.
The centre has 13 staff (five PhD holders and one MA) and there are 31 teachers employed at foreign universities; in addition, there are 100 permanent contractors included in the programme.
The Centre’s activities are financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, and with funds acquired on the market or from calls for applications and projects.