Society
Society

New York City School Requiring Students to Learn Arabic

| by Michael Allen

In New York City, public elementary school principal Nicky Kram Rosen is requiring all students at PS 368 to learn Arabic.

Rosen reportedly chose the language to achieve an International Baccalaureate, which would bolster the school’s reputation.

The students will spend spend two 45-minute classes, weekly, to learn Arabic.

Angela Jackson, the CEO of the Global Language Project, said in a statement: “She proposed this to the parent association. They were very supportive. Arabic has been identified as a critical-need language. It means they can spin the globe and decide where they want to work and live.”

Mohamed Mamdouh, who teaches the Arabic program, told the New York Post: “Soon, Arabic will be a global language like French and Spanish. These kids are like sponges. It’s amazing to see their progress.’’

Thus far, there has been no objection by parents. And the New York Post points out that students can petition administrators for a class waiver:

The Arabic requirement becomes mandatory in September. But PS 368 is a so-called “choice’’ school and no kids, even those living nearby, are forced to attend it. 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.

Mohamed Mamdouh, who teaches the pilot program, said, “Soon, Arabic will be a global language like French and Spanish. These kids are like sponges. It’s amazing to see their progress.’’

Mamdouh yesterday played a version of duck, duck, goose with the kids using the Arabic words for mother and father — mama and baba — for ducks and geese.