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Qatar University to have Arabic as Medium of Instruction
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cough... cough... HCT... cough... cough...

Where else could absorb those numbers?

VS
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battleshipb_b



Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 185

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:01 am    Post subject: SEC QU Arabic Decree Reply with quote

Changes at QU after SEC decree
Students joining courses taught in Arabic are exempted from the Foundation Programme

Qatar University yesterday announced that it will implement several changes starting Spring (February) this year, following a decree issued on January 24 by the Supreme Education Council (SEC) on the medium of instruction.]Students joining courses taught in Arabic are exempted from the Foundation Programme (FP) which prepares high school graduates with essential knowledge and skills in English language, Mathematics and Information and Communication Technology to meet the common academic entrance requirements of Qatar University (QU), its colleges and specific programmes.[/b]Additional degree programmes will be offered in Arabic, including International Affairs and Business and Economics.

The university clarified that except for some undergraduate degree programmes in the College of Law, Arts majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Business & Economics, which were addressed in the decree, others will continue to use English as the language of instruction.The university will strive to provide as many hours as possible for the courses in Arabic, based on the capacity within the different disciplines. Admission to all QU programmes continues to be based on student competitiveness and capacity.Students already registered in the Foundation Programme (Arts and Law) classes of 2009, 2010, and 2011 will be enrolled in their respective colleges, and may enrol in up to six credit hours of core curriculum courses as of Spring 2012 term. The registration process begins on February 5.

New students accepted into the Foundation Programme (Arts and Law) for Spring 2012 must attend the mandatory orientation meeting which will provide important information and guidance and allow them to enrol in up to six credit hours of core curriculum courses. Attendance in the orientation meeting is required for enrolment. The orientation meeting for male students is on February 15 and that for female students on February 16. Suspended students in the Foundation Programme (Arts and Law) from classes 2008 and earlier, who wish to be re-admitted, should visit the university website (www.qu.edu.qa) to fill in the re-admission form. The deadline for application for re-admission is February 7. These applications will be forwarded to the relevant discipline in the respective college. The students will be allowed to enrol in up to six credit hours of core curriculum courses for the 2012 Spring term. They will be eligible to register in courses starting from February 12. Students from both above-mentioned categories are allowed to enrol in courses without meeting with their academic advisers. They can choose to meet with academic advisers or visit the academic advisory centre for any inquiries.
It is however compulsory that students enrol in core curriculum courses. Information about the core curriculum can be found on QU website, http://www.qu.edu.qa/core/documents/CCP_New_List_of_Courses.pdf
Students currently enrolled in the Foundation Programme and accepted into the College of Business & Economics for the 2012 Spring term will continue their studies within the Foundation Programme.
Successful completion of the Foundation Programme remains a requirement for pursuing the college’s current study plan.
Starting Fall 2012, a new study plan will offer Business & Economics programmes in Arabic.At this time, students will not be allowed to change their major as the deadline has expired for transfer of majors. This will be possible as soon as the drop/add period reopens in Spring 2012 dates are available on the academic calendar. Pursuant to the decree stipulations, students who were academically-dismissed from QU are not eligible for re-admission in the university. Students who do not meet the required high school GPA to join the university may still apply for admission in the event that they achieve the required scores in the minimum competency requirements as published on the QU website (http://www.qu.edu.qa/students/admission/undergraduate/competency_requirements.php[


Last edited by battleshipb_b on Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:27 am; edited 2 times in total
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battleshipb_b



Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 185

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:24 am    Post subject: QU students seek compensation Reply with quote

These students can't be nationals. QU is free for all citizens. But these kids have a point. They need to understand that all learning counts for something but it's too bad that the rules changed midway. It still makes sense to have English taught in the Business program. After all, the banks and all financial institutions communicate in English.

Quote:
QU students seek compensation for lost hours Wednesday, 01 February 2012 02:59


DOHA: The controversy raging over the recent decision of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) to do away with the Foundation Programme in all Arabic-taught programmes of the Qatar University has taken a new turn with several students expressing their wish to seek compensation from the University for what they call the lost study hours.

The students claim that the new decision has come after they have spent lot of time, money and efforts on the Foundation Programme and they deserve to be compensated for the losses.The SEC decision that made Arabic the official teaching language at the University stated that starting from Spring 2012 students will be directly admitted in all Arabic-taught programmes without the need to study the Foundation Programme.The University has clarified that the SEC decision applies to some undergraduate degree programmes in the College of Law, Arts majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Business and Economics. Other programmes at QU will continue to use English as the language of instruction. “I graduated from secondary school with high score in 2010 and joined Qatar University (Foundation Programme) as per my family’s wish. I accepted the situation with pleasure because the University has many specializations that I wanted to study, especially law. But there was one obstacle in my way. I have to get 5.5 points in IELTS examination to join the department of law and I have been working hard to secure that. Suddenly the new decision has come,” Al Sharq quoted a student, Amina Al Khater, as saying.

“My question to the University is this — can you compensate for my lost years? Each victim has to be compensated because we have spent many hours on the Foundation Programme. We have studied English, computers and mathematics. We wish to get certificates to prove that we have already studied these subjects, showing the number of hours we spent on each subject,” she added.


Efforts wasted


Basma, another student said, “I spent two years on the Foundation Programme and when I finished the fourth level in English, the new decision has come. All my efforts and the money my family spent for me have been wasted. I wish if I could ask for compensation from the University.”Airing similar sentiments, Habeeba Thaha, another female student said, she had already spent one year on the Foundation Programme.“My study in a specialisation has been delayed due to the Foundation Programme. With the new decision, I would be sitting in the same class with another student who has not taken the Foundation Programme and is less qualified than me,” said Thaha.

Meanwhile, the University has clarified that students already registered in the Foundation Programme (Arts and Law) classes of 2009, 2010, and 2011 will be enrolled in their respective colleges, and may enrol in up to 6 credit hours of core curriculum courses as of Spring 2012 term. The registration process begins on February 5.Suspended students in the Foundation Programme (Arts and Law) from classes 2008 and earlier wishing to be re-admitted, may visit the university website to fill in the re-admission form. Final deadline for application for re-admission is February 7.

Students already registered in the Foundation Programme (Arts and Law) classes of 2009, 2010, and 2011 will be enrolled in their respective colleges, and may enrol in up to 6 credit hours of core curriculum courses as of Spring 2012 term. The registration process begins February 5.
New students accepted into the Foundation Programme (Arts and Law) for Spring 2012 must attend the mandatory orientation meeting which will provide important information and guidance, and allow them to enrol in up to 6 credit hours of core curriculum courses. Attendance is required for enrolment.Suspended students in the Foundation Programme (Arts and Law) from classes 2008 and earlier wishing to be re-admitted, may visit the university website to fill in the re-admission form. Final deadline for application for re-admission is February 7.

These applications will be forwarded to the relevant discipline in the respective college. The students will be allowed to enrol in up to 6 credit hours of core curriculum courses for the 2012 Spring term. They will be eligible to register in courses starting from February 12.Students currently enrolled in the Foundation Programme who have been accepted into the College of Business & Economics for the 2012 Spring term will continue their studies within the Foundation Programme. Successful completion of the Foundation Programme remains a requirement for pursuing the College’s current study plan.Starting Fall 2012, a new study plan will offer Business & Economics programmes in the Arabic language.

The Peninsula



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yellofello



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
SEC directive on Qatar varsity welcomed Sunday, 05 February 2012
DOHA: Qatari social networking sites over the past one week were abuzz with arguments for and against the recent decision of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) making Arabic as the official teaching language at Qatar University and abolishing the Foundation Programme in all its Arabic-taught programmes. The SEC decision applies to some undergraduate degree programmes in the College of Law, Arts Majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Business and Economics. Other programmes at QU will continue to use English as the language of instruction.

Majority of the students who posted comments on Facebook and Twitter argued for the decision saying introducing Arabic as the medium of instruction would only improve the performance of the students.
Even those who welcomed the decision called on the university to introduce special courses to teach English language to meet the requirements of the labour market.“Many oppose the decision for fear that learning the subjects in Arabic will affect their job prospects, especially in the private sector. The Ministry of Labour should interfere to force private companies to employ qualified people, even if they are not proficient in English language,” said a participant.“It is not necessary to make English as the medium of instruction in all subjects. There are hundreds of other ways to study English. Studies have shown that the performance of students who studied the core subjects in mother tongue is 30 per cent better compared to those who studied them in a foreign language,” wrote another.

Many students felt that a thorough knowledge of English is not necessary to succeed in the job market. “There are many people who have excelled in business and industry without a proficiency in English. They handle their business successfully with some knowledge of spoken English,” wrote a participant.“Those who want to study in English should go abroad or join a university in the Education City. Qatar University is the state university and Arabic should be the official language there,” wrote another.“Those who are opposing the decision are students who have already passed the Foundation Programme or those who are still required to do it for their higher studies,” said another student.Those who argued against the SEC move said that a sudden change in the medium of instruction in subjects like business and economics could have an adverse effect on the students.“Most of the reference books and study material in business and economics are now available only in English. There are no specialist translators to translate them into English and no publishers are ready to publish such books. And most of the teachers in these subjects are foreigners. I request the Supreme Education Council not to hurry with implementing the decision,” said a student.

The Peninsula


Luckily I didn't end up here. CCQ is making a very good offer.
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idaho_potato



Joined: 09 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject: Viewpoint Reply with quote

Quote:
VIEWPOINT
Quality of courses more important than medium of study

The changes being effected in Qatar University’s study programme based on the directives of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) have stirred up opinions on the merits and demerits of making Arabic a medium of instruction for some subjects.While students more comfortable with Arabic were understandably elated at the new option available from the Spring 2012 (February) session of Qatar University, most of that joy seemed to be directed at the non-requirement of the Foundation Programme, which equips school graduates with basic English, maths and computing skills to qualify for the QU’s English-medium courses.There was talk of nationalism among some academics, at the importance of encouraging Arab students to qualify for subjects in their native tongue rather than a “foreign” language like English.

The SEC directive does give the Qatar University an opportunity to be more inclusive. Allowing students who have been unable to clear the Foundation Programme due to their unfamiliarity with English, to apply directly for an Arabic-medium course like law or media studies, definitely is a plus.But it may not be enough to change the medium of instruction alone. The QU now has to ensure the quality of its Arabic instruction-courses is as good as its English-medium.For this, talk of the perceived “superiority” of one language over another must not be allowed to gain credence. Arabic is, for all Muslims, for instance, the language of the scriptures. Muslims, irrespective of their nationality, are expected to learn Arabic, in order to be able to read the Qur’an. However this does not mean that English, a language spoken not just worldwide, but also an integral part of technology, education and commerce, is in any way less necessary.

An English-medium degree is more likely to be accepted within the Arab world and without. An Arabic-medium degree, if unaccompanied by a knowledge of English, may limit the applicant’s chances outside the areas where the language is not spoken.
Qatar University also attracts a large number of non-Arab expatriate students, which is why the continuation of its English-medium courses is important. Qatar has embarked on an ambitious overhaul of its education system to equip its future generations with the skills necessary to accomplish ideals on a world stage. Its phased inclusion of franchise campuses of world-class institutions has allowed local students to broaden their outlook, and sample foreign education on their own terms, in their own familiar locales.Most of the expatriates in Qatar regularly use Arabic at work or even in their casual lingo, because of their comfort level with the language, and out of respect for the local culture.English, for its part, has already entered Arab societies through popular culture and the computer-driven lifestyle. Students must follow the example set by languages: acknowledge co-existence.



http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=484034&version=1&template_id=46&parent_id=26


Last edited by idaho_potato on Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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idaho_potato



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:29 pm    Post subject: Questions: Letter to the Editor Gulf Times Reply with quote

Quote:
University must review decision

Dear Sir,

Education aims to break down barriers among diverse cultures and nations in today’s world. Qatar University’s transfer to English as the medium of instruction earned it international recognition and numerous affiliations with various reputable higher educational institutions across the world. Transferring back to Arabic as the medium of instruction will, pardon me for my exaggeration, devastate its education system.
According to a report in Gulf Times (January 25), the Supreme Education Council (SEC) has issued a decision by which Arabic shall now be the medium of instruction at the university. Courses in topics like business, international affairs, mass communications, and law offer a variety of career options to the university’s students. Those who graduate in these fields of study pursue careers that span over more than one country. Making English as the language of instruction ensured that these students could pursue further studies or take up careers without difficulty caused by language barriers.

Students have been benefited by English being the medium of instruction and some of them are now employed or are pursuing higher education outside Qatar and the Middle East. However, the step back to Arabic being the medium will disappoint many students because a degree from Qatar University will not be of any use outside the Middle East now.
The university might even lose some of its affiliations and recognition and it won’t be unfair either. The university has to develop a plan to make sure that at least the students that are currently enrolled in English language programmes can, at the very least, graduate without the change upsetting their plans. They should develop plans to promote culture without displacing hundreds of students. For now, all that the administration responds to any query is: “The implementation mechanism is still under research at Qatar University. More announcements will be made soon to clarify the questions you’ve raised.” And also: “We do advice to have the patience until further announcements are made officially from Qatar University as the implementation mechanism is still under research and development.”

Unfortunately, the Qatar Foundation universities are a bit too expensive for all English-speaking QU students to transfer. And there are no other universities that could offer a decent degree or career paths. So the new decision could prove to be the end of the road for many students, specially girls. The whole world chooses to educate its youth in a language that can enable them to communicate proficiently globally but this QU move is in the opposite direction. The students who graduate in Arabic medium won’t be able to work or pursue further education anywhere outside the Middle East.

And what about the English-speaking students? Should they transfer to Arabic language as the medium of instruction and start flunking due to language problems or quit the university altogether? If the authorities want to promote the region’s culture then they should make courses in Arabic or certain community activities mandatory, not make the entire university take a step back. What about the university’s English language teachers? Are they going to be fired or replaced? This situation needs a solution. And urgently.


http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=483640&version=1&template_id=46&parent_id=26


Last edited by idaho_potato on Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you forget your password for your other screen names? Don't you think anyone would recognize your usual style of spamming the board with 20 or so posts at a time? Laughing

VS
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scot47



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Cut and paste" with no attempt at precis, synthesis or original expression.A bit like our dear strudnets !
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isabel



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FunGus wrote:
Supposedly, the VP of QU has sent out a message to all employees stating that all contracts will be honored...so the teachers currently there should be safe until the end of their contracts.

Where they all will go on to from there (there are 100+ teachers) is anyone's guess...


I know of one member of the law faculty who just started there. He is reportedly in "negotiations" for the buy out of his contract.

I had heard a while back that this was coming in the Kingdom. It will be interesting to see if it spreads widely in the Gulf.

I understand there are still many jobs in Oman. Nice beaches and no abayas!
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veiledsentiments



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isabel wrote:
I know of one member of the law faculty who just started there. He is reportedly in "negotiations" for the buy out of his contract.

That makes sense for the university. And as a law prof, he knows his job will end so he may as well take as much money as he can get and start his job search. Things are more clear cut in the content areas. As usual the big question is the TEFLers.

I suspect that the other Gulf Universities will sit back and see how it goes there. If Qatar pulls it off without too much sturm and drang, I would certainly expect it to move to Saudi next.

VS
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idaho_potato



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
QU Foundation Programme gets new look Wednesday, 29 February DOHA:
Qatar University (QU) yesterday unveiled the new structure of its Foundation Programme that does not require minimum scores in IELTS or TOEFL proficiency tests.

A passing score of 70 percent in the Foundation Programme will allow students to enroll in their respective college or programme.The new structure follows the recent decision by the Supreme Education Council (SEC) making Arabic language as the medium of instruction at the University. The decision also abolished the Foundation Programme in all programmes that are being taught in Arabic. QU Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Dr Sheikha bint Jabor Al Thani outlined details of the new structure which reduces the Foundation Programme to one year instead of two, starting Fall 2012. Al Thani explained that the new Program is structured on Levels 1-4, and will be divided into four 9-week sessions, with an additional 6-week summer session if needed.

Its focus will be on improving students’ language and mathematics skills. A dynamic intensive English component that is attuned to individual student needs forms part of the new structure, while the computer component will be eliminated as ICT skills will be integrated into all student learning experiences at QU, she added. The Program will be student-centered and project-based, with a focus on creativity, engaging students in tasks and activities that not only spark their motivation, but are related to their prospective field of specialization and to the Core Curriculum Program (CCP).

The CCP is aimed at the acquisition of skills and competencies in general knowledge, communication, research, critical thinking, ethics and civic responsibility, and appreciation of identity and cultural diversity. The teaching philosophy of the new Program advocates interactive, communicative, and collaborative strategies of teaching and learning, Dr Al-Thani said. To achieve this, class size will be reduced to 16 students per class for Levels 1 and 2, and 20 per class for Levels 3 and 4, and allowed class absence will be reduced from 25 per cent to 10 per cent. She further stated that students’ duration of study can be shortened, as the new structure has a flexible built-in mechanism that caters to individual learning needs and facilitates movement from one level to the next based on individual progress. Current students will be transitioned into the new structure based on the level they would be moving on to at the start of Fall 2012..

The Peninsula



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stickleback



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This new policy has created chaos in the Foundation program. Hundreds of students dropped out this semester because they no longer need Foundation English for their major. However, they still need to do the two Post-Foundation courses which are credit courses. The problem is that they are not equipped to do an essay/research course so they had to quickly create a subgroup Post-Foundation course for all theses students. This course is designed to push the students through - they write a few paragraphs. Some of these students were in Level 1 (Basic) and now are doing a Post-Foundation. It's a joke. No standards, no ethics and no planning. Most of the teachers are deliberately being kept out of the loop and don't really know what is happening - this includes the management team who have to play it by ear.

The new program has to be up and running by September. Good luck!

I think next year will be a major mess. Lucky I checked out a few years ago.


Who ever heard of using this test Accuplacer test for grades?
http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/accuplacer/accuplacer-tests.html
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landcruzer



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

HH Sheikha Moza hails strategic importance of Qatar University
QNA/Doha

In response to queries by some students on the decision of the Supreme Council for Special Education to Arabicise the medium of instruction at the university, HH Sheikha Moza praised the Arabic language as “our mother tongue which we must work to revive”, stressing that it was and to date is a language of science and research. She said the university must continue to work to develop students’ skills in the English language by offering different programmes involved in this area, provided that English is a prerequisite for graduation from the university and not an obstacle hampering acceptance in it.




http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=502471&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=
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mesquite



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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Public policy by whim? Qatar University to teach in Arabic 6, Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
Qatar University, Qatar University arabic language, Qatar University to teach in Arabic, Rule by Whim

Qatar’s Supreme Education Council has announced that Arabic should be the official teaching language of Qatar University. This means that most courses in the Faculty of Law, International Studies, Mass Communication and the Faculty of Management, will need to be taught in Arabic from Fall 2012.

Whatever you think about this decision, it is border-line ridiculous to impose this and give the Departments only nine months to change their curriculum, their staffing levels not to mention the mundane but critical issues such as the books. Indeed, of course, this is impossible and there is little chance that a coherent Arabic only first year can be taught in these Faculties by September.

My instant reaction is that this another example of rule by whim in Qatar. The last great example of this was when it was summarily announced that most foreigners would need to obtain their visa before arriving in Qatar: a patently stupid decision that was never going to work and of course it was soon dropped. This Arabic decision, while there are certainly reasoned arguments for QU teaching in the country’s native language, nevertheless, does not make much sense to me.

Nothing about Qatar’s overall positioning on the international stage or its outlook suggests that this is a good idea. Qatar, if it has been about anything in recent years, has been about expanding its horizons, establishing relations across the world and fostering a name for itself as something of a global citizen; seeking to use its position, its abilities and its qualities to be a world hub or intermediary be it for sports tourism, diplomacy or business. All of this suggests (to me at least) that degrees taught in English might be of more relevance.

Some basic realities:

- This will be devastating for Qatari students who want to go and study abroad. IELTS aside, what self-respecting university will accept a Qatari with a degree taught in Arabic onto, for example, an MA social studies-type course now?

- Particularly, this will hit Qatari girls the hardest. They, after all, make up the vast majority of the students at QU. Their horizons have just been diminished.

- The quality of teaching will plummet. While a sensitive topic, it is true enough to say that the teaching pedagogy in the West is light-years ahead of that in the Arab world. While this is clearly a generalization, I fully stand by it at all levels; primary, secondary and higher education. At a time when Qatar is overtly seeking to enhance its population’s education credentials to foster a knowledge economy, this is an ill-conceived move.

Had there been a reasoned debate about this issue, I think it could have been a positive move. Clearly, Qatar does not want to lose its Arabic heritage and to move to ‘shore this up’, so to speak, is a sensible idea. Yet, as ever, these knee-jerk, rule by whim policy decisions are just so profoundly ill-thought out it boggles the mind.

Incorporating ever greater portions of Arabic teaching requirements into degrees over a number of years would, for example, have been a sensible path to pursue. Then, instead of entirely changing the requirements and expectations for students looking to leave school soon (and it now being far too late to do much meaningful to prepare oneself) and allowing the University time to acquire some decent staff (as opposed to its current situation where some Departments will likely need to panic-buy any and all lecturers who can speak Arabic regardless of quality) such changes could have been made, perhaps, successfully.

And has anyone thought of the impact of this policy on the Qatari job market? Sure, this will be a great move for Qataris wanting to move directly to the public sector. Yet while such skills will obviously be of use in the private sector too – you know, that place that all Gulf countries are “trying” to encourage its workers to move into – overall, this will further entrench the public sector-for-life mentality and make the transition to Qatar’s theoretical ‘new’ economy with a viable working population for a viable private sector all the more difficult to achieve.
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mesquite



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Debate Arises at Qatar U. Over Decision to Teach Mainly in ArabicBy Ursula Lindsey

Cairo

A decision by Qatar's educational authorities that the country's leading public university should revert to Arabic as its language of instruction has stirred up debate in the small, gas-rich Persian Gulf kingdom. Many Qataris have welcomed the move as a validation of their mother tongue; others worry that it will weaken graduates' job prospects."This is not the only time we've seen this kind of tension arise" at universities in the Persian Gulf, says Jason Lane, director of education studies at the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York at Albany (and a Chronicle blogger). "It's a question of legitimacy. Externally, English is viewed as a dominant language, conferring legitimacy in academic and business realms." But when national education systems in Arab countries abandon Arabic,"there's an issue with internal legitimacy," he says. "There is a lot of concern over whether you are forsaking your culture, giving up your history."

Perhaps in response to such concerns, the Supreme Education Council has decreed that Arabic will be Qatar University's "official teaching language" and that the faculties of law, international affairs, mass communication, and management will shift to teaching in Arabic rather than in English, as they have done over the last decade. Some faculties, such as engineering and pharmacy, will continue to teach in English.

The new decision marks a departure from recent university policy, which has strongly promoted the acquisition of English-language skills. Qatar University has adopted a spate of reforms in the past years, as the wealthy emirate's rulers have focused intensively on the higher-education sector with the intent of turning their oil-rich country into an education "hub" and training their population of a few hundred thousand for a post-carbon future.Qatar University is home to about 8,000 students. The majority of them are Qatari nationals who speak Arabic.

"There is a long tradition of teaching science, medicine, and engineering in English in national universities in the Middle East," notes Peter Heath, chancellor of the American University of Sharjah and a member of Qatar University's Board of Regents in an e-mail to The Chronicle. "There is also a long tradition that Arabic, Islamic studies, and history/social studies are taught in Arabic." The best language to use in teaching law, business and management, education, and the social sciences remains a matter of debate.

"The Supreme Education Council of Qatar for around a decade appeared to favor increasing the use of English at the university level," says Mr. Heath. "Now it seems that they have decided to promote Arabic in certain subjects currently taught in English. How best to balance the use of the two languages will continue to be a subject of discussion and at times controversy, whether in Qatar or in other Gulf and Middle East countries."
Unpopular Language Requirements Until now, students at Qatar University who didn't show sufficient English proficiency were obliged to take a foundation course to bring their language skills up to par. The English-language requirements have been unpopular among many students who have had to spend up to several additional years honing their English before beginning their degrees.

The recent decision has been highly controversial. On a university message board, about 40 percent of students said they were against the decree while 60 percent said they supported it. "Imposing English this way has been an injustice to the students and to the Arabic language," wrote one student. "Every country is proud of its language and applies it in its national and sometimes even international activities. Except us!"But several students and graduates argued that English-language skills are a necessity in today's job market, and that obtaining a university degree without acquiring such skills is of limited value. Others criticized the decision as "random" and "unstudied," and complained that the educational authorities don't seem to have a coherent plan for the development of higher education.

Educational authorities in Qatar have encouraged English-language teaching at the secondary-school level. Courses at the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar and at the Community College of Qatar (which is administered by the Houston Community College) are in English. An enclave of half a dozen prestigious foreign-branch campuses in Qatar, including those of Weill Cornell Medical College, Northwestern University, and Texas A&M, also operate in English.
Foreign Faculty Affected

Most universities in the Persian Gulf use English now, but they face challenges, says Christine Farrugia, a doctoral student at SUNY-Albany whose research focuses on local responses to the adoption of foreign higher-education programs. . Often when students aren't fluent in English, bilingual professors end up distilling the course materials into Arabic, says Ms. Farrugia, and students don't fully engage with the course materials in either Arabic or English. "There are some real policy issues in terms of preparing students all along the pipelines in order for them to be able to perform fully in English at the university level," she says.

At Qatar University, the language shift will affect "the type of textbooks and other resources available for use in the curriculum in the specified subject areas," notes Mr. Heath.The administration has yet to clarify the future of English-speaking professors in the affected faculties. But a shift from English to Arabic undoubtedly has "implications more broadly for faculty recruitment," says Mr. Lane. Until recently, Qatar University has been aggressively advertising for foreign faculty. Now, says Mahmoud Galander, chair of the department of mass communication at the university, "the focus will be more on recruiting professors with Arabic or Arabic and English fluency." It is a requirement that will certainly "limit the pool of applicants," notes Mr. Lane.



http://chronicle.com/article/Debate-Arises-at-Qatar-U-Over/130695/
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