Non-Arabic speakers attend a class at the Arabic Language Academy in Sharjah.
Gulf Today Report
After school programmes in which literacy is a component offer the potential to provide Arabic language learners with much needed support, not just academically, but socially and culturally as well. It is with this goal in mind that the Arabic Language Academy in Sharjah (ALA) established its Arabic Language Centre as a leading hub for teaching the language to non-native speakers from around the world.
Through concerted efforts to promote Arabic among non-Arabs, ALA seeks to position Arabic as a global language and emphasise its instrumental role in furthering the emirate’s cultural project.
Non-Arabic students pose with their certificates during a ceremony.
Four successful courses: So far, four successful batches have completed the courses offered by the centre. The inaugural course was introduced in October 2018.
Following its success, the second batch of courses was launched in January 2019. Two more batches followed, in April and September 2019 respectively.
The courses have been popular among employees of government entities such as the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (SBA) and Sharjah Performing Arts Academy (SPAA), given the flexible timings offered by the centre.
Classes for the fifth course will commence this month and will be offered free of cost. The centre calls on students, employees and those who are interested in joining the centre’s upcoming courses to send their letters of interest to: Registration@alashj.ae.
Since its inception in 2018, the ALA’s Arabic Language Centre has celebrated the graduation of more than 100 students from countries like the Philippines, India, Pakistan, the UK including Scotland and England, the US, Germany, Mauritius, China, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Iran, and South Korea.
The centre offers courses that aim to converge cultures, promote the aesthetics of the Arabic language, and showcase its eloquence through the enhancement of the four essential language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening, apart from the nuances of pronunciation for non-native speakers. It seeks to further cross-cultural communication and boost students’ integration and involvement within the UAE community.
Dr Mohammad Safi Al Mostaghanemi, Secretary General of ALA, underlined that the emirate’s cultural movement conceived by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, had its roots in his love of the Arabic language, and the Arab and Islamic identity. He pointed out that Sharjah’s cultural initiatives and projects seek to leverage the advances made by Arab culture and showcase it to the world.
“Through ALA’s Arabic Language Centre, we seek to further the concerted efforts to promote Arabic and introduce non-native speakers to the qualities that set it apart. We look forward to re-opening the centre in January next year, with all recommended safety and precautionary protocols in place,” he added.
Three course levels: In order to reach the largest number of people, the courses have been structured to target learners at various levels of competence, starting with the ‘Beginner’ level course. The ‘Intermediate’ course is aimed at learners who can form sentences and can converse in simple Arabic. The ‘Advanced’ level course targets learners who can speak almost fluently and desire to advance their knowledge of the language across the four skill areas of reading, listening, writing and speaking.
Students are enrolled in a 45-hour course taken across 10 weeks, comprising 30 lessons of 90 minutes each. On completing each level, students will sit for an evaluation examination and based on the results, they either move to a higher level or repeat the same level. At the end of the course, the students are presented a certificate of completion.
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