Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Arabia: Lack of English language teachers limits teaching of primary school levels | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The general supervisor of the English language Educational curriculum, Professor Mohamed Ibrahim al-Ohaydab, revealed that the teaching of the language will remain limited to the sixth grade pupils of primary schools rather than extending it to fourth and fifth grade students. The announcement follows a plan to add the subject to the curriculums of the primary school levels that was approved by the Saudi cabinet. He said that the restriction was consequent to the limited number of English teachers and the increasing demand for them.

The general supervisor told Asharq al-Awsat that last year, the ministry signed contracts with 300 teachers from Jordan, Syria and Egypt as well as with Saudi graduates. He indicated that graduates search for better job opportunities in the field of translation rather than in the education sector. At the same time, he denied that the ministry signed any contracts with foreign teachers to teach the language.

Al-Ohaydab stated that there are approximately twenty thousand English teachers for foundation, primary and secondary stages of education, six thousand of which are teaching the sixth grade. He added that the issue of teaching fourth and fifth grade students the language depends on the approval of the cabinet and providing schools with the requirements needed to the teaching of the language.

Applying the system last year was not simple according to Al-Ohaydab. He believes that the main problem for the ministry was the lack of teachers. The number of female teachers exceeds that of men, but women are restricted in their movements due to cultural reasons and other causes such as the difficulty in transportation.

He also revealed that there had been some changes made to the English language textbooks, based on research in the effectiveness of the content. The process of adjustment is continuous across all stages.