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Israeli Schools Will Teach Arabic

The Education Ministry has approved a five-year plan to promote the study of Arabic in Israeli schools aimed at doubling the number of students of that language. The Ministry acted on the recommendations of a special committee headed by Prof. Moshe Piamenta, a veteran teacher of Arabic.

The study of Arabic will be made a compulsory part of the elementary school curriculum. Al-though Arabic is presently taught in many schools, many others do not offer it and students prefer to study French as a foreign language. The Piamenta committee attributed this in part to the poor quality of Arabic teachers and the Education Ministry plans to make a special effort to improve teacher training. Another recommendation calls for the use of instructional television to teach Arabic. At present only English lessons are given on educational television.

The panel proposed that the study of Arabic start at the fourth grade level and be limited at the first stage to the spoken language. There is considerable difference between spoken and written Arabic.