Symposium on Challenges of Teaching Arabic within International Context

13 - Mar - 2019

Searching for internationalism of Arabic language, IUG Arabic Center did successfully organize an international symposium on Teaching Arabic for non-native speakers: opportunities & challenges. The symposium which had gathered high-level personalities from the University of Glasgow, the Country of South Africa, and the University of Maldives, is falling under activities of a project funded by (GCRF). 

The project, entitled"Accelerating the impact of online Arabic from Palestine (OAfp) language course has been implemented in cooperation with the University of Glasgow.

As the University of Glasgow is fundamentally partaking in succeeding the Arabic Center's activities, it's necessary to present their gorgeous experience that they are living in learning the Arabic language. The symposium had Prof. Giovanna Fassetta, PhD (Sociology), lecturer in intercultural literacies and languages in education, accompanied by Prof. Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, Professor of languages and intercultural studies from UofG; they delivered a speech, clarifying the main challenges of educating Arabic Language in the UK: there are a very few teachers available who can teach the Arabic language in the UK, as well very few teachers training courses available which hinders the process of teaching Arabic. In addition, there is a challenge for Arabic to gain a foothold in the educational system or to achieve a critical mass. However, Online Arabic from Palestine course ( OAfP) opens further opportunity to teach Arabic in the UK through promoting " Linguistic Hospitality" that targeted service providers such as teachers and volunteers. "Arabic From Palestine" helps offer taught courses and content of the course to promote intercultural awareness. (OAfp) dissemination in the UK will be done through OAfp workshops, conferences, seminars, blog, academic papers, social media.

For the first time, (IUGAC) links partners from different continents in one symposium, discussing several opportunities and challenges of teaching the Arabic language. A phenomenal experience in teaching the Arabic language was given by Prof. Hassan Al-Kurdi, coordinator for higher studies at the University of Maldives; he is one of IUG students. At the very beginning of his speech, Prof. Al- Kurdi mentioned that Arab merchants and counselors have contributed to the dissemination of the Arabic language. As a lot of Muslims reside in the Maldives, they were concerned about learning Arabic for it can help them in practicing Islamic rituals as praying and reading the Quran. The Islamic University of Maldives has previously participated in teaching Arabic as both Arabic and Maldivian languages are alike in the word shaping. Furthermore, an elementary school in the Maldives has been established for teaching the Arabic language. When learners are good at language skills, they learn Arabic grammar and rhetoric. Still, some obstacles stand in their way as the curriculums don't suit the nature of those learners.

 The South African experience, on the other hand, is such a different one. As indicated by Dr. Murshed Davids, the Arabic language is not his mother-tongue, nor does it the first, but it is his fourth one. He learned the Arabic language at the kingdom of Saudi Arabia University after his graduation from southern Africa University. Therefore, his relation with the Arabic language is related to his birthing when his father called the prayer in his ear, memorizing the Holy Quran.  For him, the Arabic language has opened up new living space for him as being the President Nelson Mandela's translator as well a translator of a number of books from Arabic to English. The Arabic language has a prominent position in Southern Africa as he said, and the government has approved to teach it in all their schools. 

He added that even some people say the Arabic language's speakers are decreasing dangerously because of the global dominance of the English language, yet he thinks this is a permanent period. Therefore, we have to protect the Arabic language by changing the Arabs' thinking way and looking for the factors which strengthening one language over another. Collaboration opportunities for increasing Arabic language speakers are through specifying linguistic priorities. strengthening the religious factor especially in Muslim countries and making statistics to the number of people who aim to learn Arabic. He concluded that we have to establish a net of Arabic self-learning and collaborate with this IUG Arabic center afterward.