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    The hardships of teaching Arabs their own language

    NSOD, say The Quran chose Arabic for his revelation because it was easy to understand. But many of the world’s 470m Arabic speakers want a difference. The World Bank reports that nearly 60% of 10-year-olds in Arabic-speaking countries (and Iran) have difficulty reading and understanding basic texts. Despite decades of investment in education, the Middle East and North Africa still suffer from what the report calls “learning of poverty.” “The school system doesn’t recognize the importance of drawing children into reading, or doesn’t know how to do it,” says one of the authors, Tahatomre Hanada. “It creates a gap between children and their language. Many people can’t read or write essays.”

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    The root of the problem is bad teaching. Arabic lessons are boring and focus on awkward grammar. In many cases, there is no printed matter in the classroom. Few schools have a library. The report states that teachers tend to lack “sufficient proficiency in the language itself.” At universities throughout the region, Arabic and religious studies attract students in the lowest grades.

    In Morocco, almost 60% of 10-year-old teachers do not have higher education. Only Bahrain has a teacher training college that specializes in teaching Arabic. Teachers tend to be traditionalists and sometimes rely on beatings. “Children don’t love Arabic because even 1% of teachers aren’t willing to read stories to their students,” said Taha Tomre, a professor at the University of Zayed in the United Arab Emirates.United Arab Emirates).

    Some people blame the language itself. Students are taught modern standard Arabic (MSA), Official formal tongues, but they grow up to speak native dialects.The closest dialect to MSA Spoken by Palestinians, but only about 60% of local terminology MSA.. The Moroccan dialect is far more divergent.

    Adults often stumble upon written words, so children rarely read books at bedtime. Only about a quarter of Arabic-speaking parents read well to their children, but more than 70% in most of the West. Reading for joy is widely regarded as important to the future success of the child. However, studies show that Arabic-speaking children do much less than Western children.

    The Arab Ministry of Education is awakening to this problem. Egypt has developed a pile of online materials to bypass traditionalists. NS United Arab Emirates We have started to set up a classroom with a “reading corner”. In the Arab world, female teachers tend to be better, and girls far outnumber boys. As a result, Saudi Arabia opposed unfriendly priests and trained women to teach boys (apart from girls). The Ministry of Education pierces the mystery of the sacred text by distributing Japanese-style cartoons to all Saudi children over the age of 10 by having superheroes speak Arabic slang. “We are facing a generation that does not speak Arabic,” says Essam Bukhary. CEO Manga Arabia, the creator of the comic, “We want to promote reading as a hobby for the younger generation.”

    Traditionalists tremble with the irreverent treatment of such sacred languages. And the Arab administration is nervous about free expression that a more liberal approach may inspire. Their censors continue to ban books as strictly as ever, ensuring that newspapers all say the same thing. Andrew Hammond, a lecturer in Arab culture at Oxford University, says that many officials prefer to keep their children disciplined by reminding them of what they have been told. If not, he says they may start thinking for themselves. ■■

    This article was published in the printed Middle East and Africa section under the heading “No books at bedtime”.

    The hardships of teaching Arabs their own language

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