Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

Sheikh Khalid calls for more Arabic language and poetry programmes

The aim of the programmes will be to revive Emirati cultural traditions

Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Committee, has been appointed chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office . Courtesy Abu Dhabi Government Media Office
Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Committee, has been appointed chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office . Courtesy Abu Dhabi Government Media Office

Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed has called on Abu Dhabi's Executive Committee to develop new programmes to enhance Arabic language skills and foster storytelling through poetry among the community.

The committee, of which he is chairman, met in the capital on Wednesday.

Sheikh Khalid, who is also a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, said the improvement of these skills were a priority and directed the committee members to come up with ways to encourage pupils to reconnect with unique aspects of local heritage - particularly Nabati poetry.

He said the aim of the initiative was to revive Emirati cultural traditions and to ensure young people were able to learn the skills.

Historically, poetry has been a central part of the UAE’s identity and has served as a platform for documenting activities in society.

Promoting Arabic language and preserving cultural heritage has long been a priority within the UAE with schools frequently called upon to bolster teaching programmes.

Last month, the Executive Council established the Arabic Language Authority - tasked with developing plans to advance the use of Arabic and publish scientific studies.

The authority also acts as a research centre to support Arabic speakers and boost Abu Dhabi’s cultural movement by supporting the translation of books to and from Arabic.

Ahead of the academic year, Hussain Al Hammadi, the Minister of Education, called on the public to give feedback on how to strengthen the teaching of Arabic across the Emirates.

“We look forward to the contribution of the community in this development, and we would like to know the public’s opinion on education levels in all schools without exceptions,” he said last month.

Arabic teaching in UAE schools has in the past been criticised for failing to properly engage students.

Very few residents who grow up in the UAE finish school speaking more than a few words, and native Arabic speakers often use a mixture of Arabic and English.

Education experts have claimed old-fashioned teaching methods have made the language less exciting to children, meaning fewer pupils enjoyed taking the subject.

Teachers have also said they lack the proper resources in the classroom to broaden the subject's appeal.

In January, private schools across the Emirates announced they would roll out an Arabic digital teaching programme to help address the issue.

The scheme, which launches next month, will use mobile apps as part of efforts to revive interest in learning the language.

Updated: August 28, 2019 09:50 PM

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