Bahrain introduces French in five middle schools

October 3, 2010

Yves Oudin

Bahrain has introduced the learning of French as a foreign language in five middle schools.

The experiment will be later assessed before it is genralised in all the middle schools. Education ministry officials have said.

French has been taught in Bahrain’s government schools as an optional course and only in high schools.

“We are keen on the success of the course and we will motivate our students to ensure they are enthusiastic about learning the language,” Shaikha Lulwa Bint Khalifa Al Khalifa, the assistant undersecretary for curricula, said.

Students with high scores in the language will be given competency certificates and encouraged to study at French colleges and universities, the official said at a meeting with officials and teachers from the five schools.

Arabic is Bahrain’s official language and students in public schools learn it exclusively in the first year of formal schooling.

All students are later required to learn English, the most widely spoken foreign language in the country.

French is offered as an optional course in some high schools, but has often been ignored by students not keen on learning languages.

However, the ministry’s decision to make the language compulsory in middle schools will boost its status in Bahrain.

Private schools have been offering French as a course, with varying success. None of the media broadcast or published in Bahrain is in French.

Yves Oudin, the French ambassador in Bahrain since September 2008, has been steadily encouraging people in Bahrain to learn the language and has boosted the status of the Alliance Francaise, a centre offering courses and cultural activities and workshops in French. 



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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