Sara Alegría, Commercial Director of Telefónica's Digital Education division, the Spanish telecommunications company which owns the exam, told StudyTravel Magazine that Fedele's 90 member schools could give their students added value by certifying their Spanish level with the "unique digital Spanish certification".
The SIELE (Servicio Internacional de Evaluación de la Lengua Española) test was launched in 2016 as a computer-based exam, and is supported by: Instituto Cervantes, Univesidad National Autonoma de Mexico, Universidad de Salamanca (Spain), and Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina).
"Fedele will also gain an added value with a new certification to promote and achieve its objective of promoting the status of quality in the teaching of Spanish in Spain," Sara said.
"Within the new partnership, SIELE will be recommended by federated schools that have obtained the quality stamp in the field of Spanish teaching (from Instituto Cervantes)."
Outlining the benefits of the global outlook of the SIELE test, she said, "It is the first internationally recognised digital certification that accredits Spanish proficiency from a pan-Hispanic point of view, so that people, institutions and companies can achieve their objectives in a Spanish-speaking world."
She added that SIELE already has 220 authorised test centres in more than 45 countries. "On top of that, more than 75 institutions in the 22 Ibero-American countries are actively involved with SIELE, performing ongoing research in Spanish language teaching, supporting content quality and providing innovative didactic materials."
Sara explained that the SIELE examination differed from the established DELE test because: it is a wholly computer-based test; candidates do not pass or fail but are given a score between 0 and 1,000, with levels corresponding to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR); results are available in less than three weeks; students can undertake some or all of the four components of the test; and the flexibility in booking the time and date of an examination at an authorised test centre.
Commenting on the major target markets for the nascent examination, Sara said, "Based on the number of people studying Spanish, the main target countries are Brazil, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, the UK and Spain, due to the Erasmus students. China is also a potential market, which is already doing the SIELE examination."
As recently reported, Fedele Español en España recently unveiled its 2016 full-year member survey data, showing the fourth consecutive year of growth in international student numbers, and increases from the majority of the top-20 source countries. A number of Fedele schools are already offering preparation courses for the SIELE examination.
The agreement (pictured) was signed at Fedele's recent annual convention in Madrid by Sara and Maricarmen Timor, President of Fedele.
By Matthew Knott