18 November, 2009

FNC & English language requirements

The FNC has some recommendations for the education sector: "The committee also said federal universities should be more lenient in their admission requirements for students when it comes to English language proficiency..."

To me, lowering the bar is a disservice to students, to their future employers and the economy in general or is it just me not understanding the logic behind this suggestion?


Lirun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lirun said...

i agree with you that this is a disservice - not just to students but to the entire economy and brand of dubai.. both of which are associated with aspirations to excellence.. that would be a shame..

ive always admired students who persevere.. ie after being rejected by a uni - go off and improve their grades to be at the right level..

i studied once at a university that despite having an english language school (that was supposed to prep foreign students in english) still accepted students that could barely read their lecture schedule as long as they could pay their fees.. while these students didnt normally last long enough to earn a degree and continue on to embarrass the institution - they did make it harder on the rest of the student body who had to tolerate a non contributing group of dead weight every class staring blankly at them while they would participate..

i did read yesterday that dubai is one of the worlds top ten party towns (as is my home town).. maybe people are coming to these schools for the wrong reasons.. http://www.smh.com.au/travel/the-worlds-top-10-party-towns-20091118-im4q.html

Proud Emirati said...

We need a minority who should be good in English but the majority shouldn't be bothered.

Anonymous said...

Not really a disservice to the future employers who will easily notice the five grammatical mistakes per sentence on resumes and quickly bin them.

It is a disservice for the institutions themselves which will only strengthen their reputation of churning out craptastic graduates thus reducing even further the resume received to resume trashed delay.

Once an half competent HRM will have interviewed five barely literate applicants from the same local uni any other applicant from the same uni will be promptly ignored.

PE: I would agree with you if Arabic was still the real primary language of the UAE. As it is it is not. As it is it is very easy to live here without speaking a single word of Arabic while I've seen Emiratis about to explode because they couldn't get themselves understood from shopkeeper.

From the article:
Many students from the UAE spend five or six years at university because they have to go through a foundation year to become more fluent in English.

Sad or not (i know you think it's sad), it's a fact and one that you have no other option than to live with and if you want your minority to have a chance at a decent job and life in this country you should be encouraging better English class from a younger age.

ps: I know, your country, your language, blabla. Wishes are not facts. No English no job. period.

Al-ain Rose said...

No English no job.
This backwardness is found only here. can't get why English is associated with success & progress, countries such as Jaban, Germany and France are great nations without English...heck, Germans would spit at you if you communicate with them in English. In France, you will never get a response till you speak in French! once in a UN assemply an entire French delegation decided to leave when the speech was conducted in English.

EnglishTeacher365 said...

Ther FNC talks out of its asshole - everybody knows that. They have NO idea what is happening in the nations's schools, colleges and universities, and yet they make pronouncements like this.

I work at a college in the UAE, and the wind is NOT blowing in the direction of 'less English'. In fact, there is a movement to increase the students' level of English at school, so that they don't need to study a 'foundation year' to bring their English up to the level required to cope.

And now the FNC claims the opposite - less English and lower levels of achievement in it? Give us a break - who elected these idiots? Oh, that's right - NOBODY elected them!

Anonymous said...

Jaban, Germany and France are great nations without English

Al-Ain Rose:

You missed out China.

Now, the only difference between those four industrialized nations and the UAE, is that those four are powerhouses in their own rights, which means they can afford to getaway when they can.

When the UAE joins that league, you're most welcome to come back and demonstrate your contempt & arrogance towards the English language.

Until then, no dice!

Anonymous said...

@Al-ain Rose: Germans would definitely not spit at you, if you spoke to them in English. Where did you get that knowledge? Ever been there?

Lirun said...

not sure about china

read this: http://www.smh.com.au/world/india-warned-it-is-being-overtaken-in-englishlanguage-skills-20091119-iow9.html

Proud Emirati said...

Yes Al-Ain Rose, we have a twisted way of living here. I was in Malaysia and they were actually reverting to their language instead of English because they found that they are actually doing worse. At least there they admit their mistakes, unlike here ....

Anonymous said...

Let me use this argument against the ones who usually use it:

I'm not a great fan of English but when you are so few in numbers that your country needs to be run by others you need to work in a language that most people understand.

The Japanese and the French don't depend on expat workforce for everything. Neither does Malaysia.

Expats are here in those numbers because your country needs them. And you need one language so they communicate with each other AND with you.

Now in addition to all the other skills you need from your guest workers if you added Arabic to the list, well your country will miss out on the vast population of professionals from different parts of the world.

You guys may vent on forums such as this one but your policy makers are aware of this.

At one time most Emiratis spoke Urdu and your currency was the rupee, now most also speak English and the currency is pegged to the dollar.

BuJ said...

I think we need a bit of balance. As Arabs we tend to be extremist in our views.

Many might deny it but it's the truth.

Many great nations speak English to a high standard such as :


We have a lot to learn from such countries. However, there needs to be more emphasis on Arabic in the UAE.

With 90% of the population of the UAE comprising of non-citizens, there are some fundamental problems towards achieving this.

Media Junkie said...

Why not make it bi-lingual, and make sure the applicants are equally well-versed in Arabic and English? That way they are proficient in the national and international language.

Lirun said...

personally (as someone who loves languages) i think legislated bilingualism rocks.. but for many people it is close to impossible..

francesca said...

Al Ain Rose,
Did you know Japan is switching to English in some elementary schools now? China is in a hurry to improve its citizens' English-language skills, specifically because they are a major world economic power. As for France, it is an anomaly; also, many of their citizens can speak English they just choose not to.
The best plan: do what (some) Moroccan schools do: half a schoolday in Arabic and the other half in English. This is brilliant.
The UAE should not let go of Arabic but it also needs English.

Paraglider said...

When French, Germans, Japanese etc meet together, as happens all the time these days, they are most likely to converse in English, a simplified version of which is more or less everyone's second language (where it is not their first).

francesca said...

Exactly. So, there's no denying the UAE would be hurting itself if it didn't encourage its citizens to learn English. English is the global lingua franca today. That said, the UAE ought to also make every effort to strengthen its Arabic language, too. Other countries with far less means have done this; the UAE can too.

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