Indian students from Dubai top global Arabic contest

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on April 5, 2021


The students responded to 466,767 questions and secured 189,522 points.

A Dubai-based Indian school came second globally out of the 837 schools that participated in Education Perfect Languages Championship 2021.

Thirty-seven students of JSS Private School — all non-Arabs — secured high ranks in four different skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The school also topped the 22 schools that attended the event from the UAE.

Dr Marwa Ali Maher Mahiaa, head of the department for Arabic at the school, said: “It was amazing to see non-Arab students excelling in the UAE language and beating native speakers in the competition. The online competition held between March 16 and 23, saw around 900 students from Grade3 to Grade 8 of JSS Private school spend around eight hours a day in the competition that had no syllabus but simply aimed at the Arabic proficiency levels of the students based on the skills and training they had received in their respective schools.”

The students responded to 466,767 questions and secured 189,522 points after spending 1,260 hours in the span of eight days of the competition. Calling it a beneficial experience, 12-year-old Indian student, Swathi Somasundaram, who ranked third worldwide, said: “ This competition has motivated me to learn the beautiful Arabic language, which is important as I am living here in the UAE and this can help me learn about the country’s culture and people better. I used to spend up to eight hours a day and managed to get a high score of 11,457 points in Arabic and I would not have managed it without the support of my Arabic teachers who kept encouraging us to excel.”

Another student Mohamed Muneer from Grade 9 added: “Arabic is a beautiful language and I always wanted to master it. I got a chance to do that with the help of my teachers, who encouraged me to participate in the global competition and polish my skills. In just eight days, I managed to become well-versed with the language as my vocabulary improved, I spoke better, my typing speed increased, and I can now speak in Arabic more confidently. I am glad I participated in this competition.”

Calling it a huge achievement for an Indian school, Dr Marwa said: “I knew this would be a challenging feat as all our students were Indians and they had to compete with native Arabic speakers. But my focus was not only on winning, but it was to help my students improve their skills in the Arabic language. This is the language of the UAE and it would help children grow fonder of their place of residence and feel more rooted here.”

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