Much ado about Arabic

THE controversy over whether non-Arabic speaking foreign students in private schools should be made to study Arabic continues to rage. Academicians have a valid point when they say that the present system in which the assigning of a fixed syllabus to different grades of students should be done away with.

By Talk Of The Town

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Published: Thu 14 Apr 2005, 10:02 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:03 PM

Their argument is simple. It puts newly admitted students, who haven’t a clue about the language, in fix?

Given the numbers of new students joining UAE schools in the secondary or higher secondary classes, would it not be asking too much of them to not only learn a language they have never been taught — or even heard speak — but also get the minimum pass marks to move on to a higher class?

The suggestion to categorise Arabic language instruction into various levels for non-Arabic speaking foreign students is an idea that must be given serious thought to. It makes a lot of sense and will, if implemented, take a load off the students’s mind. Besides, as an Arabic teacher admitted, it is almost next to impossible to teach non-Arabic speaking students with different levels of proficiency in the same class. The new students are bound to be all at sea and can only put them off the language for good and the teacher is caught between progressing with the class while also ensuring that the raw ones pick up fast and do not lag behind.

Invariably, most students who’ve just been introduced to the language, will be compelled too take up private tuition and pay through their nose for it with no guarantees that private classes will help them grasp the subject — and get the minimum marks required.

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