Saturday, October 13, 2012

Arabic Education in Abu Dhabi

Emirati parents in Abu Dhabi want their kids educated in Arabic:
"Adec, the Abu Dhabi Education Council, has spent millions of dirhams since 2010 gradually introducing lessons in English as part of its New School Model.
"The intention is to prepare young people better for being taught in English at university. Only 12 per cent of students can begin university studies without taking a foundation course.
"However, 82 per cent of parents say they prefer maths and science to be taught in Arabic.
"More than 50,000 parents of children in state and private schools filled in questionnaires sent out by Adec last year to rate progress, teachers' performance, school environments, curriculum, extra activities, the cost of education and communication. Of the surveys returned, 62 per cent were from parents of children in government schools."
Math and science publications are often in English or another major western European language, and are never reliably translated into foreign languages.  Because of this, students in these disciplines around the world often study them in a language other than their mother tongue.  However, in the United Arab Emirates, as with the other smaller Gulf states, citizens are gravely worried about the erosion of their culture, as Arabs are now a sometimes overwhelmed minority in these countries with their multitude of guest workers.  Parents are worried about their kids using Arabic in school mainly because they can see their kids using hardly any Arabic at all.  I still remember my first time in the Gulf, a January 2007 trip to Bahrain, when I learned hardly any service personnel in restaurants and coffee shops could understand Arabic and that even native Arab Bahrainis ordered in English.



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