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Move to Introduce English
in Arabic Nurseries Hailed

Afshan Ahmed
Filed on December 8, 2008

DUBAI - Children at a young age are more linguistically inclined in comparison to the later stages in their life.

Parents thus believe that if English is taught in state-run and Arabic nurseries and schools it will make their children more proficient when they make their transition into the English education system.

Recent media reports stated that state-run nurseries will introduce English to children as young as four as part of the educational reforms by the Ministry of Education. The initiative that will begin as a pilot study is being welcomed by parents who consider English language skills an important part of their child’s education. “This is the right age to mould a child. In nursery, my son was taught only in Arabic. At the age of four children start learning how to communicate and express themselves. 
 Therefore any number of languages taught at this age will come to them easily,” said Mamoun Khalifa, adding that when the child gets older, languages are harder to teach.

Yasir Mohd. ElHassan whose child is in an Arabic school in Abu Dhabi said his children learn English as a second language. “We speak in Arabic at home. Even at school, English is taught at a later stage. Thus the children are well-versed in Arabic but then find it hard to pick up English. I have noticed that in other countries that I have been to, English is taught in school from a very early stage.” English being a universal language is a requirement of most universities and jobs in the UAE.Students of schools where education is imparted in Arabic find the transition to English universities hard and can be a hindrance to higher studies.

“I have studied in a government school and because I was not taught in English, I cannot converse fluently. 
 I could not also apply abroad for higher education. So I decided to send my son to a private nursery so that he would not face the same problem,” stressed Adil Mohd whose son is currently in the Arab American School in Dubai where he is taught in both Arabic and English.

afshan@khaleejtimes.com





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