Hithadhoo school to become Maldives’ first Arabic medium school

Nooraanee School in Hithadhoo will become the first in the Maldives to teach classes exclusively in Arabic from next week.

The Ministry of Education has confirmed that the school in Seenu Atoll will hold all grade one classes in Arabic, other than English, Dhivehi, and Islam.

Minister of State for Education Abdulla Nazeer told local media that all the teachers had been trained, and facilities prepared to begin teaching 32 grade one students in Arabic from Sunday (January 11).

The ministry had previously announced that two schools had been designated to conduct classes in the Arabic medium, with Nazeer telling Sun Online that a second school in Haa Dhaalu Kulhudufushi was to follow in 2017.

The government has pledged to mainstream Arabic education, with Arabic lessons having been introduced in 20 schools in the past year, as well as the introduction of Quran as a subject for grades 1 – 7 in all schools during the 2014 academic year.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has also pledged to broaden Islamic knowledge in the national curriculum

Following the introduction of the first classes last February, Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel said that Arabic language will bring a “special happiness” to the people of Maldives, will strengthen the Islamic faith, and will introduce good behaviour.

With the exception of Malé’s Arabiya School – which uses both languages in classes, the medium of instruction of all schools in the Maldives is currently English. Only Dhivehi language and Islamic studies are currently taught in Dhivehi.

Arabiya school also discussed switching to Arabic only classes from grade four onwards with the government last year. Officials from Arabiya were said to have been concerned that teaching in both English and Arabic was affecting grades.

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