Earlier this year, regional municipal authorities in Norway’s Buskerud county said that it would require taxi drivers to speak Norwegian at university level. This week, a final decision will be made on the language requirements for drivers. Taxi companies in Drammen hope that the high demands will be eased, reports broadcaster NRK.
Taxi driver Usman Mohammed Ahmed told NRK that he found the requirement currently specified – B2 level – more advanced than necessary for his role. “For many people driving taxis today this is a bit too high, because that level of language is required at college or university, not in the taxi business,” he said.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) definition of level B2 includes being able to “understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization”; as well as “interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party”.
The transport department in the Drammen Municipality where Ahmed works is currently preparing its final decision on language requirements for taxi drivers, according to the report. Odd Ivar Gjersvik, manager with taxi firm Drammen Taxi, told NRK that he expected requirements to be reduced to B1 level. “I think that the regional municipality will drop to [B1] level, as anytning else would be unreasonable,” he said.
Taxi drivers’ Norwegian skills should nonetheless carry higher expectations than for bus drivers, he added. “A taxi driver must transport school children, the elderly and people with dementia. They must feel comfortable that they can communicate with the driver well. As such, we believe that B1 is a sufficient requirement,” he said.
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