x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

All students must learn English, UAE education minister says

The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research has insisted students on Arabic and Islamic Studies courses will not be exempt from taking English.

ABU DHABI // The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research has insisted students on Arabic and Islamic Studies courses will not be exempt from taking English.

At the FNC yesterday, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak told the FNC that English would remain a requirement for entry to federal university in all courses.

Salim Al Ameri (Abu Dhabi) said many parents had complained to him that their children struggled to gain the English scores needed to start their degrees.

Mr Al Ameri said there was no need for them to study English when they wished to major in Arabic or Islamic Studies, which are taught in Arabic.

"Passing the English exams is for all students, without any exemption," Sheikh Nahyan said. "This is so the students are bilingual in Arabic and English, and are aware of what is going on around them and able to use the latest technology."

He said English was important as it allowed different societies to communicate with each other, and that the pass marks were not severe.

Hamad Al Rahoumi (Dubai) then asked the minister about mixed-gender classes at the Higher Colleges of Technology.

Sheikh Nahyan said classes were only mixed at Fujairah, where some women wanted to take courses only taught at the male campus, and their parents had consented.

He said if more female students signed up for those courses, they would be taught on the female campus. "This is not a trend, I assure you," Sheikh Nahyan said.

Mr Al Rahoumi said there was also mixing at the Dubai campus, in classes, food halls and study areas.

The minister said there was only mixing for specific events, but he would look into the matter.

osalem@thenational.ae