Our students hate Arabic language and find its grammar difficult compared to that of French and English. However, school administrations, teachers and students are all responsible for lack of the mother language’s attractiveness.
Most school administrations, especially in private schools, neglect Arabic and pay more attention to French and English. They rarely encourage their students to read Arabic books during the school year, but they depend only on the “reading” book which is usually compiled by two or more authors. It is no secret that some schools use a specific reading book issued by a certain publishing house, and sponsored by certain people. Such behavior is not usually innocent, and it involves some kind of bargain.
When we browse some of those books, without mentioning information related to them except when necessary, we find out many remarks, most notably the following:
There are some texts borrowed from literary books that may not be understood clearly by a university student who specializes in Arabic language. There are texts by Gibran, Naima and Rihani. For example, we found a text taken from “Mirdad” which can’t be understood by the fifth-grade students although it is explained more than once.
There are also poor texts of no literary merit, but they are included only because there is a relation between the writer and one of the authors of the book, the owner of the publishing house or an executive in the field of education. Some of those texts are included in accordance with rules 6 and 6 bis, which lie behind the problems of official departments.
Questions related to texts are always written in a literary style, the matter which reflects that the author is not aware that such questions will be answered by a young student who has just joined the middle stage. If the student understands the text, he can’t understand the questions, so he leaves studying for something else.
Most of the school activities, such as Teacher’s Day, Independence Day, Mother’s Day, are celebrated in a language similar to that of Voltaire or Shakespeare.
Only the national anthem comes in Arabic, and only few students can memorize it in full. If it is possible, it may be translated into another language.
On bulletin boards, a decision or information is rarely published in Arabic, except for obituaries relevant to the teaching staff.
Moreover, schools hire non-specialized Arabic teachers in order to rationalize expenses, knowing that such schools receive high fees from student parents. Those teachers may lack the minimum limit of grammar and teaching methods, and they take such job due to lack of job opportunities. It is certain that teaching, in this case, can’t be fruitful due to lack of specialization and interest. It is known that a teacher can’t make his students love the subject unless he is interested in what he teaches.
A female media figure said that she loves Arabic because the teacher, a well-known poet, was fond of Arabic language and transferred his passion to students. She also added that the teacher one day stopped the lesson and asked students to watch the rain and listen to its music and then write ten lines describing the view and their impression. It is well known that writing on a felt subject is completely different from writing about a subject just read in books.
It is also surprising that schools assign such non-specialized teacher to teach all subjects taught in Arabic such as geography, history…etc.
Private schools are not the only cause of the low level of Arabic language among our children. There is also a great responsibility on the part of parents and students, but it is another story.
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