British Curriculum and Arabic A
I would like to know why Arabic A is being taught at Schools with British Curriculum starting at Year 1? The KHDA is aware that Year 2 is equivalent to grade 1 which is when Ministry of Education books should be introduced. In my opinion, children at British curriculum schools are at a disadvantage, since cohorts in other schools with a “grade-based” system start the Arabic books at Grade 1 , which is year 2 in the British system. Yet we expect them to perform well using material designed for an all-Arabic curriculum and one year above their age.
Thank you for your question. Our understanding is that individual schools of different curricula may choose when to introduce languages into their programme – so many introduce French, for instance, anywhere between Grade 3 and Grade 5 – but the introduction of Arabic is compulsory from Grade 1. We know of many schools that start Arabic in FS1 or FS2, in order to familiarise children with the language as early as possible, though teaching is obviously in line with the play-based learning of EYFS. There is plentiful evidence that children find it much easier to learn a new language at an early age.
Many schools, whilst using the Ministry books as a basis for learning, also incorporate other material, resources and curriculum modification to enable children to learn the language in line with other subject teaching practices. Indeed, the KHDA very much encourages professional development and training for all staff (including Arabic teachers) in order to deliver best practice for all subjects. Starting Arabic at an earlier age, should therefore support students’ learning as they reach the point where it is a compulsory subject.