Copenhagen may offer Arabic language classes

19th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The proposal, if approved, will see Arabic offered alongside other languages such as English, French and German.

Copenhagen – School pupils in Copenhagen may soon be able to study Arabic as a second language under a new proposal that seeks to give a boost to children from immigrant families, city officials said Monday.

"It is very important that we give students a choice of languages that includes Arabic, as there is a need to give a helping hand to young people from the Arab-speaking countries to reinforce their education and integration into Danish society," Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard, the city's vice-mayor in charge of youth policy, told AFP.

It would be offered alongside other foreign languages already taught in Denmark such as English, French and German.

All four languages would be offered as options for the entrance exams that pupils have to sit at 15 to get into high school.

By offering Arabic on the curriculum, the idea is to give children from immigrant families a better chance at succeeding in those tests.

Copenhagen has asked Denmark's education ministry, which must agree to the proposals, to start teaching Arabic when students return to school in August from their summer holidays.

Some 10 percent of Copenhagen's 31,000 secondary school pupils speak the language as their mother tongue, city authorities said.

Despite counting just six percent non-citizens among its 5.5 million inhabitants, Denmark has long struggled to integrate its immigrant population amid widespread scepticism of foreigners, especially those who are Muslim.

Kjeldgaard said it would also be a huge advantage in the future for Danish companies doing business with Arab countries.

AFP / Expatica

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