The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced the changes in a bid to align the year/grade system with MOE national curriculum standards. The new rules not only include Arabic studies but also Islamic Education, Moral Education and the Social Studies curricula in all Year 1 -13 schools. Prior to this, we understand that students had in fact been studying material that was intended for students one year/grade higher.
The new ruling is likely to have a significant impact upon students entering GCSE courses in Year 10 of the British curriculum. Whilst the number of hours Year 10 students will need to spend on their Arabic studies in Year 10 is as yet unclear, time will have to be found from some other area of the overall curriculum to allow for it.
In future years, this may impact GCSE option choices. For the forthcoming academic 20/21 academic year, we understand that schools are reworking their timetables to allow for the change.
Year 4 (age 8-9 in the British system) is another year group for whom significant change will come as a result of this announcement. Previously students in Years 1 ,2 and 3 were required to complete 240 minutes per week of Arabic studies, with a decreasing amount of time spent on the subject in Year 4. This mandatory 240-minute requirement has now shifted to Years 2, 3 and 4.
School have been instructed to inform parents that despite the change, the curriculum is merely being realigned and students will not repeat content that they have previously studied.
We understand that, as yet, some schools have not received any official communication with regard to these changes. From our conversations with schools, we understand that many hope to be able to appeal to the MOE - especially with regard to Year 10. We will continue to update this article as we receive more information.