A new specialised institute focusing on Arabic has been established at Zayed University to reinforce the language across the region and the world, it was announced Wednesday.
"The Institute for the Arabic Language is the first institute in the Arab world that will be specialised in developing the Arabic language curriculums. The institute will be an international house of expertise, committed to develop the methods of teaching the Arabic language, and to assess and create new innovative teaching and learning manners, based on rigorous evaluation and assessment of educational tools," said Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, at the press conference that took place yesterday at his palace.
"The Arabic language should occupy top priority in the educational systems. Efforts should be exerted so that the Arabic language regains its place among other international languages. The institute will have experts in teaching the Arabic language and will reinforce the initiative and care given to the language by [His Highness] Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai," he added.
Shaikh Nahyan stressed the importance of restoring the prestige and grandeur that Arabic had enjoyed for many centuries.
The institute will offer advanced programmes using modern and creative teaching methods to raise the standard of teaching and Arabic linguistics. It will offer degrees-oriented programmes with multiple Master degrees in creative and specialised topics related to the Arabic language, including a Master's programme in innovative methods for teaching Arabic language. The institute will also offer a Masters degree in translation and interpretation.
"The institute will include an international centre to teach the Arabic language for non-Arabs from across the globe. This centre will attract international students, and will turn the UAE into an international hub for those desirous to learn Arabic and explore its culture and knowledge," Shaikh Nahyan said.
Additionally, a centre will be established for exchange programmes among international universities.
The institute will support schools and universities across the UAE in improving the Arabic language, and will offer its expertise to the GCC countries and the Islamic and Arab worlds at large.
"The Institute, will intrinsically collaborate with all schools, colleges and universities in the country to meet the social and national requirements, in order to present our Arabic language in its best image," Shaikh Nahyan added.
"Through scientific research, education, higher education and post-graduate studies, the institute will reinforce the national, regional and Arab identity," Shaikh Nahyan said.
Dr Abdul Rahim Abdul Alim, head of the Arabic Department at Zayed University told Gulf News: "There is a significant gap between the students' knowledge of Arabic Language and their ability to express themselves in Arabic in the various subjects they study at universities compared to their abilities to express themselves in English.
"We want to give them the same aptitude and skills in their mother tongue, which will strengthen in their minds an equal importance of the Arabic language," he added.
An official at Zayed University confirmed that two institutes will be established soon that will reinforce the role of the Institute for the Arabic Language.
In addition to the Institute for the Arabic Language, the Institute for the Study of Emirates Society and the Gulf Region will be established, and will offer research and teaching programmes. It will also offer courses in multiple subjects related to the Gulf region besides master programmes.
The other school, the Institute for Global Dialogue and World Peace is intended to be a hub for the world's top thinkers and researchers, who will meet and exchange their insights and experiences for the benefit of humanity.