Use of Arabic at Schools in Qatar Deemed Inadequate

Article from The Peninsula Qatar, April 29, 2012:

Ninety percent of respondents to an online survey by the Al Sharq reveal that Arabic language is not adequately used at public institutions, schools and universities for communication and transactions.

Also 85 percent of the respondents say the institutions have failed to adopt Arabic as the official language, while another 90 percent have said organisations don’t use Arabic for communication.

Hence, many academics, intellectuals and nationals have called on the officials to issue a government decision to make Arabic language compulsory in different official procedures. They also worry that wide use of a foreign language; especially English among youth could make an adverse influence in the community. And have sited that prevalence of expatriates has been an influence for the high use of English.

Dr Fatma Al Suweidi said, “Arabic language is the language of the Holy Quran, therefore it will not disappear, but not using it will make an impact. Many young people ignore Arabic and use English. Also since the labour market has expanded and due to the development of new technology English is mostly used at the expense of Arabic.”   

She also says that since many use English more than Arabic as it could increase the opportunity of getting a job.  Academics also stress that the need to learn and become proficient in Arabic should be focused among students from their young age.

Nazmi Al Jamal, Professor of Arabic said: “Children should be taught and made understood about the necessity of becoming fluent in Arabic from kindergarten to university.”

“In any country people are proud of their language. But sadly in the GCC countries people are more dedicated to English, especially as a language of communication. There should be a procedure adopted to control the spread of English as a communication language in the region,” he further said.

Dr Zakia Malalah, a poet said: “Now a days many young people are unable to communicate in Arabic without mixing English words. Even places like pharmacies, banks and hospitals use only English and not Arabic.”

Salman Al Suleiti, another writer and educator said: “Many students who graduate from high school are not able to handle Arabic language.”  

Fahad Saied Al Marrie, a Qatari, blamed parents for not encouraging their children’s interest in Arabic language.  

However, some respondents to the survey have also said that English is essential certain areas as technology and medicine but Arabic speaking staff should be recruited.


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