Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 August 2019

Arabic must be main language of UAE, urge FNC members

Council committee has been studying decreased use in schools, universities, government bodies and general society.
Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but the FNC committee has found it was not used in exclusively universities and schools. Silvia Razgova / The National
Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but the FNC committee has found it was not used in exclusively universities and schools. Silvia Razgova / The National

ABU DHABI // FNC members will call for a law to ensure Arabic is the language of instruction in state schools and universities.

At Tuesday’s session the council’s education, youth and media committee will debate the decreased use of Arabic with a state minister.

Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but the committee has found it was not used in exclusively universities and schools, where classes are taught in English, and that many youngsters were not proficient.

For a year the committee, chaired by Dr Mona Al Bahar (Dubai), has been studying the diminished use of Arabic in society, education, and government communication.

Dr Al Bahar said the debate would also examine the feasibility of a law on Arabic.

“Right now there are policies to support the Arabic language but they will not be effective until they turn into a legislation or become mandatory,” she said.

“There will be a discussion on a possible new law to protect the Arabic language.”

She said the UK had laws to preserve the English language, as did other countries for their indigenous languages.

FNC members have been concerned over the lack of use of Arabic at universities, meaning many students were graduating with poor skills in the language.

Sheikha Al Ari (Umm Al Quwain) said schools were no better and pupils faced a “new disability” from their lack of proficiency in their native language.

The debate will follow a questions session between six members and five ministers.

Dr Mohammed bin Ham (Abu Dhabi) will question Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, on why some Emiratis have had scholarships to universities abroad revoked.

Mr bin Ham said the end of the scholarships meant the country had lost all of the money it invested in the first few years of the student’s education.

He said that between 2005 and 2012, the ministry sent 4,083 students abroad for bachelor’s degrees and 1,182 students for master’s. Of these, 912 graduated with a bachelor’s degree and 528 with a master’s.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, is also due to attend.

Member Ahmed Al Amash (Ras Al Khaimah) will ask about the ministry’s role to instil loyalty and patriotism in society, and Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman) will question him on Emiratisation in youth and sport.

Mr Al Nuaimi will also question Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour, about the status of legislation to ensure employees in the free zone are covered in workplace insurance laws.

A 2009 FNC proposal was approved by the Cabinet, but Mr Al Nuaimi says it has not yet been implemented.

He has taken to Twitter to alert followers of his question.

“There are more than 30 free zones in the UAE with no centralised record of those working there,” he said. “So in 2009 the FNC reviewed the law and called for insurance for workers and for free zones to be covered by the law. Right now they are not.”

osalem@thenational.ae

Updated: November 23, 2014 04:00 AM

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