CAIRO - American students in upper Manhattan public school are getting Arabic lessons to help the school and its students obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate standing.
She proposed this to the parent association. They were very supportive, Angela Jackson, CEO of the Global Language Project, which is backing the initiative, The New York Post reported.
Arabic has been identified as a critical-need language, she said, citing students' future career trajectories.''
It means they can spin the globe and decide where they want to work and live.
Beginning next semester, all 200 second- through fifth-graders at PS 368 in Hamilton Heights will be taught the language twice a week for 45 minutes; putting it on equal footing with science and music courses.
Arabic language was chosen by the school principal Nicky Kram Rosen to help the school obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate standing.
Students now taking the class in a pilot program during their free afternoon periods said it's been a rewarding challenge.
I like Arabic class. I like the words we learn, said Nayanti Brown, a 7-year-old second-grader.
I thought they sounded funny at first, now I think they sound cool.
I teach my little sister the words I learn.
Nayanti said her mother was skeptical at first.
When I gave my mom the [permission slip] to sign, she was shocked. [Now] she's happy I'm in the class, she said.
Though the Arabic language was introduced as a pilot program, the requirement becomes mandatory in September.
If the school ever enrolls a student who objects to learning Arabic, administrators will deal with that on a case-by-case basis, Jackson said.
By teaching Arabic language, the school teachers hope the language, mainly spoken in the Arab world, would become a global one.
Soon, Arabic will be a global language like French and Spanish, Mohamed Mamdouh, who teaches the pilot program, said.
These kids are like sponges. It's amazing to see their progress.''
Bella Moon Castro, 34, of Harlem, said she was glad to have her son learn Arabic.
This makes the world smaller for the kids, Castro said.
It develops their confidence.
A survey by the Modern Language Association found that after 9/11, Arabic enrollments in American colleges have grown faster than any other language except American Sign Language.
Arabic is the language of the Noble Qur'an and the official language of 22 countries in north Africa and Asia.
Spoken by millions of Arabs living in the United States and Canada, Arabic is one of the six official languages of the United States.