Demystifying the Arabic Language Curriculum Requirements in UAE Schools

Jan 16,2024

Arabic Language Curriculum Requirements in UAE Schools

If you’re an expat parent to a school-age child in the UAE, one particular query that might be on your mind is the Arabic language education in UAE schools. 

In 2017, the government made Arabic education at schools in the UAE compulsory for all students. However, different schools have adopted various approaches to teaching this subject.

In this article, we aim to guide you through how schools carry out Arabic language instruction in the UAE.


Teaching Arabic in UAE Schools

The UAE takes immense pride in its language. It’s not merely a mode of communication; it’s a thread that weaves the country’s national identity and rich cultural tapestry. 

As such, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has made it mandatory for all schools in the country to offer Arabic as a core subject in their curriculum. This requirement applies even to schools that follow various international curricula, be it British curriculum schools, American curriculum schools, Indian curriculum schools or others.

Public schools, exclusively attended by local Emirati students, use Arabic as the primary language of instruction, with English introduced as a second language

Alternatively, private schools cater mainly to the expatriate population and, therefore, use English as the primary language of instruction, with Arabic introduced as a second language.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) have specified two versions of the Arabic curriculum for private schools: one is for students who speak Arabic as a first language, and the other is for students learning Arabic as an additional language.

Arabic as a First Language 

For students registered in the school or KHDA under an Arab passport, Arabic as a first language is compulsory from Year 2/Grade 1 to the end of Year 13/ Grade 12. 

It also must be taken as a subject in Years 11 and 12 (Grade 10 and 11) to meet the equivalency requirements of the UAE’s general secondary education certificate (Al Thanawiya).

The time allotted for Arabic classes in this context is based on each student’s grade level:

  • Six lessons per week for Years 2 to 4/Grades 1 to 3. 
  • Five lessons per week for Years 5 to 7/Grades 4 to 6.
  • Four lessons per week for Years 8 to 13/Grades 7 to 12.

Arabic as an Additional Language

Meanwhile, for students registered in the school or KHDA under any other nationality, Arabic as an additional language is compulsory from Year 2/Grade 1 to the end of Year 10/ Grade 9. After that, students may choose to study Arabic as an option for their secondary education.

Non-Arabs must have four Arabic lessons per week during those first nine years. 

The aptly titled Arabic B curriculum is built around gaining a basic understanding of the language. It revolves around the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.


How GEMS Schools Help Expat Students Learn Arabic 

Private schools in the UAE predominantly serve the expatriate population, so they understand the nuances of teaching Arabic to non-native speakers. 

Here are some key elements GEMS schools in the UAE are maintaining to enrich each student’s Arabic language learning journey: 

1. Highly-qualified Arabic language instructors

At GEMS Education, we employ a meticulous approach to hiring Arabic language teachers. We accept only the highest-calibre teachers with strong academic backgrounds, a passion for helping students learn, and who are adept at making the language accessible and engaging for non-native speakers. 

In addition to mastery of Arabic, we stress the importance of our Arabic teachers displaying excellent English proficiency. That’s because we understand that teachers can sometimes facilitate non-native speakers' grasp of the Arabic language through effective communication in English.

2. Curriculum design

Even though Arabic language learning is a mandatory part of the curriculum, we constantly review, design and modify it to ensure that it’s age-appropriate, engaging, and sufficiently stimulating

3. Periodic assessments

We know that to enhance our students’ Arabic language learning experiences, we must continually assess their progress. For this reason, we conduct regular quizzes and tests to gather insightful data about student knowledge, areas of improvement, and learning challenges

We then use this information to rethink and improve teaching methodologies and curriculum planning to meet each student’s learning needs.

4. Enriching classroom and learning environment

To us, learning is more than just pedagogy; it’s about creating an environment that empowers our students. Our Arabic language classrooms are equipped with interactive and digital tools to provide an immersive experience for students to practise the language.

Additionally, we offer students and parents of non-Arabic-speaking children access to an Arabic library. There, they can find numerous books and resources to learn more about the culture and heritage of the UAE.

Arabic Language Knowledge an Asset 

Arabic is the sixth most commonly spoken language in the world, with 274 million native and non-native speakers, according to Statista. So, whether you plan to put down roots in the UAE or move back home, learning Arabic can be an invaluable addition to your child’s skill set. 

Knowing Arabic can open up a world of academic and professional opportunities for your child. It also helps them make new friends more easily whilst in the UAE, engage with the local community, and foster a sense of belonging. 

Schools that offer a comprehensive Arabic language curriculum in Dubai and other emirates are the perfect place for your child to master this vital skill. GEMS schools, in particular, are a great choice for your children to kickstart their Arabic language learning journey.

Contact us today to learn more about how we help students navigate Arabic language learning easily and confidently.