State foreign language exams

The first state foreign language exams, billed by the government as a cheaper, state-approved version of the exams organized by international language institutes, are to be held in the spring, the Education Ministry said yesterday. The April 12 and 13 oral and written exams will be held in French and Italian, while the English and German exams are expected to take place in October. Eventually, the Education Ministry intends to offer certificates in all official European Union languages. There will be six levels of certificates, in accordance with EU guidelines, ranging from elementary knowledge to proficient use of a foreign language. «The exams will obviously not undermine the value of language certificates provided by foreign institutes, but these will gradually have to adopt the six-level scale,» Education Minister Petros Efthymiou said. Candidates will pay 30 euros to sit the biannual exams. Foreign institutes charge 57 to 205 euros, while their total annual revenue is estimated at 20 million euros.