Arab students in Qatar struggle to learn Arabic
Educators in Qatar are scratching their heads about ways to tackle a growing problem here: teaching Arab students Arabic.
The New York Times reports:
“The problem is the whole education system in the Gulf countries,” (Fatma Said, a researcher in applied linguistics at Birkbeck, University of London and founder of Arabizi) said. “I’ve heard plenty of young Arab children who speak English with a Thai or a Philippine accent” picked up from domestic help.
“If the parents are wealthy enough to send their children to private schools everything is taught in English,” she continued. “In state schools in the Gulf the medium of instruction is Arabic, but the teaching is often not very good. And Gulf Arabic is very different from Modern Standard Arabic. So how do they expect students to learn?”
The problem is one Qatar and other Gulf countries is keenly aware of, as demonstrated by the Supreme Education Council’s sudden decision to change the instruction of medium in most schools from English to Arabic at Qatar University.
It does indeed seem like Arab students are caught in a rock and a hard place.
Credit: Photo by Quinn Dombrowski