Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: The former secretary general of the higher committee for education policy at the Ministry of Education said English should be taught as early as possible at schools in Jeddah.
Abdullah Al-Muqbil was reacting to Shoura Council member Ahmad Al-Mofreh’s call to teach English at high school level only.
He said the fact that Saudi students’ English are poor should motivate schools to teach the subject more and to review the curriculum and to improve the performance of English teachers.
Speaking to a local daily, Al-Muqbil said there is a lack of male teachers, although there are plenty of women teachers.
He said this problem would impede the teaching of English at elementary level, even though it would also help in creating job opportunities for Saudi youth.
Al-Muqbil rejected Al-Mofreh’s claim that teaching English at elementary and intermediate levels was a waste of resources and money.
“I disagree with him because if we are going to say that the level of English teaching standards is weak, then the same can be said about all other subjects. We cannot say that teaching all other subjects is a waste of time and money.”
He added that this should encourage a review of the English curriculum, education plans and teachers’ preparation.
He urged the Education Ministry to teach English at first grade. “The Ministry of Education adopted the idea to teach English at early levels. There are those who agree with it and those who oppose it. The idea was to implement it in the sixth grade in the beginning and then later on to the fifth grade and then the fourth grade. It was not implemented in the fifth and fourth grades because of a lack of resources.”
Al-Mofreh earlier suggested stopping the teaching of English at elementary and intermediate levels and instead focus on Arabic.
He claimed that the little time is given to teaching English in elementary and intermediate stages and the number of classes was not enough to yield good results.
© Arab NewsApr 2011