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English Language in UAE Universities - Research Paper Example

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The paper “English Language in UAE Universities” proposes that UAE governments and curriculum developers must modify English language policy in the federation’s universities to accommodate Arabic, while still making sure that graduates fit in the global work environment…
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English Language in UAE Universities
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Download file to see previous pages The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven Arab Emirates, is no exempt from the far-reaching influence of the English language. Despite the fact that the UAE recognizes Arabic as the official language, the region uses English as the Lingua Franca. This implies that English serves as the working and unifying the g language in the UAE. Virtually every job in the region requires some English speaking abilities. Further, for the advancement of education beyond junior level, Emiratis are expected to be fluent in English. However, critics insist that mandatory use of English as an instructional language in higher education is gradually eroding the quality of Arabic and undermining the cultural identity of Arab students. It is imperative to note that the UAE holds a high rank among global nations, in terms of higher education applications and enrollment. This could partly be attributed to the fact that the UAE government funds university education and many have come to perceive this as a right for every Emirati. Most of the instructors in these institutions of higher learning are foreigners, emphasizing the need for a common language. UAE higher education is primarily based on four policy provisions; one among them being predominant use of English as an instruction language (Findlow, 2006). In support of the UAE government’s policy of English instruction in universities, the UAE Ministry of Higher Education places emphasis on specific university admission standards. This ministry with the help of the UAE Ministry of Education, which governs lower education levels, set specific language objectives for schooling in the country (Findlow, 2006). For instance, if a student wants to enroll in a federal institution of higher education, he or she must take a test that measures their proficiency in the English language. Students who score below the stipulated minimal level are usually denied admission even to English-language curricula at the pre-baccalaureate level. This further implies that the students cannot join any of the three UAE federal universities. More than 90 percent of the accepted students must undergo remedial English training before being allowed to commence studies in their respective degree programs. These standards must be altered slightly to become a bit lenient and avoid denying students the opportunity to further their studies. For example, English learning programs can be increased at primary and secondary levels, but still run concurrently with Arabic lessons. This would give students a higher chance of passing the preliminary university admission exams. Close to a third of government universities’ budgets are used to support Basic English courses after the admission of students. These pre-entry English foundation programs are usually blamed for excessive utilization of resources that would otherwise be distributed throughout the education chain. These programs also waste significant time, since undergraduates end up taking five or six years to complete their degrees. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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