Algeria expands the scope of learning English


English language education is a strategic choice in Algeria’s new education policy

The Associated Press published a report entitled “Algeria expands English learning as France’s influence declines,” in which it said that more than a year after Algeria launched a pilot program to teach English in primary schools, the country is praising the program as a success and expanding it in a move that reflects… Increasing linguistic shift.

“English language teaching is a strategic choice in the country’s new education policy,” National Education Minister Abdelhakim Belabed said last week, hailing the move as a tremendous success.

As the report points out, English is the most widely spoken language in the world, represents the majority of content on the Internet and remains the lingua franca in business and science. As France’s economic and political influence across Africa declines, Algeria is among a longer list of countries that are gradually shifting toward English as a major foreign language.

The report notes that the number of French speakers in Algeria exceeds the number of French speakers in all countries except France itself and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and that it is spoken by approximately 15 million out of 44 million people in the country, according to the International French Language Organization. Its officials consider English language lessons a practical rather than a political shift, noting the importance of the language in scientific and technical fields.

According to the report, Algeria plans to expand its current program to the fifth grade next year, and will continue to teach students in French for three hours each week in primary schools.

When English learning began last year, officials emphasized their commitment to French and said they would continue to teach it widely. But in his remarks this week at the start of the school year, Kamal Badari, the minister of higher education, said the expansion of the program aims to enable primary school students to take technical courses later in English – not French.

In contrast, the report emphasizes that although few question the importance of the English language, some are concerned about how Algeria could implement such a shift and are wary of declaring victory too early. Ahmed Tissa, a former advisor to the Ministry of Education, believes that making students proficient in English can only happen gradually and will likely require more than simply adding classes.

@ Source: Al-Quds Al-Arabi

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