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British Council and QFI sponsor Arabic programme

Students at The Studio, Liverpool are increasing their knowledge of Arabic with a new programme funded by Qatar Foundation International (QFI) and managed by the British Council.

Students at the school – and its sister school, Liverpool Life Sciences UTC – have been supported by bilingual LSAs to sit exams in the language beforehand, but are now completing a programme that introduces them to the language, history and cultures of the Arabic-speaking world. It aims to counter negative stereotypes often portrayed in the media, making Arabic a realistic language choice for secondary school pupils.

KS4 pupils at the CUC started learning Arabic in November, joining pupils at seven other schools across the country participating in the Arabic Language and Culture programme.

Traditionally, results in the subject have been very strong and a great motivation and confidence boost for students who have found learning English understandably challenging. It also reflects the needs of the community in which the schools work, both culturally and from a demand perspective.

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Spanish teacher Miss Mallo is leading the programme at both The Studio and Liverpool Life Sciences UTC, and said: “It’s is a great opportunity for our students to gain knowledge and appreciate Arabic culture and language, get extra qualifications in Arabic language and develop oracy and leadership skills.”

More than 400 million people all over the world speak Arabic and it’s one of the official languages of the United Nations. It’s also widely recognised as a valuable future skill – the British Council ranks Arabic in its top ten Languages for the Future report.

While language uptake in schools has lagged in recent years, “the UK needs… the ability to work in a multilingual and culturally diverse marketplace, enabling firms to foster connections across borders,” it says. Future demand from business, trade, diplomatic and security sectors will make it a vital skill for many young people.

Vicky Gough, schools’ advisor at the British Council. said: “The chance to learn Arabic is an incredibly useful opportunity for pupils, both personally and professionally. This programme will introduce them to the cultures of the Arabic-speaking world, equip them with sought-after language skills and open up new future career paths.”

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