SEC worried over poor Arabic skills

July 23, 2014 - 2:39:18 am

DOHA: Education authorities here are worried about deteriorating Arabic language skills among Qatari students and considering ways to check the trend.

Increasing use of the Internet and apps are the main cause of the weakening grip of Qatari students over their mother tongue. 

“The use of modern communications technology by Qatari students is the main cause of their weakening grip over Arabic language,” said a senior Supreme Education Council (SEC) official.

The problem is of a serious nature and has the SEC worried. The Council has held several meetings to look into the issue for urgent redress.

“Indeed, there is a problem and it varies from one Independent school to another, and we are tackling the issue,” said Khalifa Al Dirham.

Head of the Independent Schools’ office at the Education Institute of the SEC, Al Dirham said the focus of the changed curricula of Independent schools was on corrective measure.

It aims at improving the falling standards of Arabic language among local students.

Al Dirham and his colleagues from the SEC, including Khalid Al Harquan, were taking part in a Ramadan symposium organised by Al Sharq recently.  

Last year, a programme that exclusively aimed at improving the Arabic language skills of students was launched and similar plans are being mulled for the coming school year.

He said that increasing use of modern communications technology (the Internet and apps), in which the language used is mostly English, was mainly to blame for the falling standards of Arabic language among the present generation of Qataris.

Talking about the general standard of education among Qataris, Al Sharq journalists told the SEC officials that the output of the education system was not so encouraging considering that the state was spending billions of dollars on it annually.

Agreeing with the observation, Al Harquan, head of Evaluation Institute at the SEC, said that challenges were indeed there and efforts were on to improve the situation.

“We are consistently telling Qatari students how important education is.” The media, parents and society in general must also play their role in this, he said.

What is needed is social awareness, said Al Harquan. “The SEC alone should not be held responsible for ensuring that the output of our education system is encouraging and matches the inputs.”

When told that there were 181 Independent School in the country at present, officials said there were plans to have 100 more.

Of 100 in the pipeline, 16 are expected to be ready by next year, and that would be taking the total to 30.

The problem is that the minimum area for an Independent school should be 25,000 square meters and to get such space in Doha is hard, said the official. This is one of the key challenges in as far as having new Independent Schools within the city limits of Doha is concerned.

THE PENINSULA

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