Publication Date: 
Sat, 2011-04-09 02:51

According to local Arabic daily Al-Madinah, Ahmad Al-Mofreh, member of the council's Education Committee, said English should instead be taught intensively at high school level to achieve positive results.
English has been taught in the sixth grade for nine years now. The Ministry of Education is currently moving toward teaching English as early as the fourth grade.
Although there are people who support the ministry’s move, there are those who are against it, including Al-Mofreh who believes it is a waste of money and human resources.
Al-Mofreh, who started his career as an English teacher in a number of schools and co-authored an English textbook for the sixth grade, said: “Male and female graduates of the elementary and intermediate stages will have the least minimum skills in English due to many factors including an unattractive learning environment and a lack of specialist English language tools and labs, among others.”
He also said the little time given to teaching English in elementary and intermediate stages and the number of classes is not enough to yield good results.
“From my point of view, I think teaching English in elementary and intermediate levels should be abolished, allocating this time to the teaching of Arabic, which is a mother tongue. Abolishing English can be compensated for during secondary level,” he said.
Al-Mofreh saw no big difference between students at public schools and private school students who study English at a very early stage.
“Graduates of secondary schools start searching for English-teaching institutes when they have the opportunity to study abroad,” he said.
“They perfect the language in six months, contrary to students who are taught English during their elementary and intermediate schooling, who graduate knowing nothing about the language.”
Abu Abdulrahman, a father of three, disagrees with Al-Mofreh.
“My three boys are enrolled in a local private school here in Jeddah. The school teaches them English at an early stage and the results are satisfying. If it was up to me and some of my friends who are also parents, foreign languages would be taught to all at elementary school level,” he said.
“English is a universal language that is used worldwide. I cannot see any benefit from limiting teaching of the language until high school level. It will impede our children from competing for better jobs in the future.”
However, Adel Al-Harbi, father of five, agrees with Al-Mofreh.
“As long as intensifying the teaching of English language does not impede the child’s ability to learn or improve his or her Arabic language skills,” he added.
There was no answer when Arab News attempted to contact Al-Mofreh.

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