Abu Dhabi's Zayed University launches Arabic teaching hub to help promote language

The Zai Centre will be key to emirate's vision of encouraging wider use of Arabic

Zayed University has established the Zai Centre, dedicated to teaching Arabic. Photo: Zayed University
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An Abu Dhabi university has launched an Arabic education hub to bolster the emirate's drive to champion wider use of the language.

Zayed University has established the Zai Centre, which will explore how Arabic is taught across the globe in order to provide learners with the highest standards of education.

The facility aims to be the world's first Arabic language education accrediting body by 2026, Abu Dhabi Media Office said on Twitter.

The government media office said the centre was in line with "Abu Dhabi’s vision to preserve and develop the Arabic language".

Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and chair of Zayed University’s board of trustees, said the Emirates had a duty to enhance the teaching of Arabic.

“The Arabic language is inextricably linked with our heritage, culture, and homeland," she said.

"We all therefore have a duty to promote, preserve, and enhance the teaching of Arabic."

She said a recent report by the Ministry of Culture and Youth highlighted an "absence of a clear vision for teaching Arabic as a world language".

"Our ambition is to establish the Zai centre as a leader in this space and become the first accrediting body for Arabic language education in the world by 2026,” she said.

The Zai Centre will oversee the creation of the Children’s Arabic Corpus, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, which will identify the most frequently used words in modern standard Arabic.

It will also lead the development of a resource library, beginning with translations of the top 100 studies on Arabic teaching published in academic journals, which currently predominantly available in English.

Supporting Arabic is a key priority for UAE leaders, set against the backdrop of the country's multicultural make-up.

The UAE has embraced a bilingual system in everyday life, with road signs in English and Arabic, and many government and legal services available in both languages.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, has called for schools and universities to sharpen their focus on Arabic language studies. Photo: UAE Presidential Court
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In August, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, called on schools and universities across the country to step up efforts to promote national identity and culture, and the Arabic language.

Sheikh Abdullah, who is also chairman of the Education and Human Resources Council, spoke of the need to integrate core Emirati values into curriculums and teaching methods from early years through to higher education studies.

Arabic language is 'our culture'

In June, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, urged teachers to promote Arabic in schools.

Sheikh Dr Sultan stressed the importance of teaching Arabic to pupils, focusing on the need to develop new teaching methods for the language and encouraging youngsters to learn it.

“The Arabic language is our belonging to the Quran,” he said in an address to teaching staff at the Sharjah Education Academy.

“The Arabic language is a stockpile of our history, our knowledge and our culture. The Arabic language is what holds firm our belief in our religion. The Arabic language is what unites us from the furthest corners of the Earth — from the far East to the far West, we are united under one language.”

Abu Dhabi in 2020 set out a five-year plan to encourage greater use of the Arabic language.

Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, approved the Arabic Language Centre’s strategy for 2020 to 2025.

It included using Arabic content, developing digital platforms in the language and encouraging research to promote it at all levels.

The centre was established in March 2020 in an effort to bring attention to the Arabic language and encourage its use in all official communication.

It was also give the task of performing periodical reviews for Arabic-language curriculums at schools.

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Updated: November 28, 2022, 11:51 AM
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