Arabic language and Islamic Studies: who studies Arabic and how can these skills be used at university and beyond?

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Scott-Baumann, Alison and Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya 2012. Arabic language and Islamic Studies: who studies Arabic and how can these skills be used at university and beyond? Higher Education Academy (HEA).
AuthorsScott-Baumann, Alison and Cheruvallil-Contractor, Sariya
Abstract

This work was undertaken in 2011-12 as the result of successful competitive bidding for research funds from the subject centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS). Learning a modern foreign language in UK has declined, yet the learning of Arabic is rising. Furthermore HEFCE designates Arabic as a Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subject (SIVS). This is important as it implies greater resources and support for Arabic courses. Although Classical Arabic previously had a code, the SIVS status of Arabic has increased its visibility and has led to four new codes for Arabic Language Studies, Modern Standard Arabic and related subjects in HESA’s latest JACS 3 listing (September 2011). We hypothesised that there is more Arabic language interest and competence among Islamic Studies students than is currently apparent in the university sector and in the independent Muslim institution sector, and found persuasive evidence for our hypothesis: moreover, we found that if the Arabic experience is neither assessed nor accredited this may represent missed career opportunities for such students. We explored possible relationships between students’ prior Arabic competence and Arabic language courses at Islamic Studies and other departments within UK universities. This study recognises the significance of Arabic language studies that students undertake in Muslim institutions such as Darul Ulooms, Madaris (singular madrassa), Muslim schools and Muslim HE colleges. It suggests that collaborations between Muslim institutions and universities could lead to cross fertilisation of curricula and pedagogy and staff exchanges. Furthermore, recognising students’ prior learning of Arabic could be beneficial to students, who would have options to enhance their skills and career opportunities, and also to universities who would have access to an increased cohort of potential students.

This work was undertaken in 2011-12 as the result of successful competitive bidding for research funds from the subject centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS). Learning a modern foreign language in UK has declined, yet the learning of Arabic is rising. Furthermore HEFCE designates Arabic as a Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subject (SIVS). This is important as it implies greater resources and support for Arabic courses. Although Classical Arabic previously had a code, the SIVS status of Arabic has increased its visibility and has led to four new codes for Arabic Language Studies, Modern Standard Arabic and related subjects in HESA’s latest JACS 3 listing (September 2011).

We hypothesised that there is more Arabic language interest and competence among Islamic Studies students than is currently apparent in the university sector and in the independent Muslim institution sector, and found persuasive evidence for our hypothesis: moreover, we found that if the Arabic experience is neither assessed nor accredited this may represent missed career opportunities for such students. We explored possible relationships between students’ prior Arabic competence and Arabic language courses at Islamic Studies and other departments within UK universities. This study recognises the significance of Arabic language studies that students undertake in Muslim institutions such as Darul Ulooms, Madaris (singular madrassa), Muslim schools and Muslim HE colleges. It suggests that collaborations between Muslim institutions and universities could lead to cross fertilisation of curricula and pedagogy and staff exchanges. Furthermore, recognising students’ prior learning of Arabic could be beneficial to students, who would have options to enhance their skills and career opportunities, and also to universities who would have access to an increased cohort of potential students.

KeywordsLanguage; Arabic; Islam; Muslims; Higher education; Cohesion; Career development; Employability
Year2012
PublisherHigher Education Academy (HEA)
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/292730
hdl:10545/292730
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Publication datesMar 2012
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Deposited24 May 2013, 10:17
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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