Pearson launches bilArabi, an innovative new Arabic language program for K-9 students in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, KSA - Pearson Middle East today officially launched ‘bilArabi’, an innovative Arabic learning programme designed to help students aged 4-13 learn and reconnect with the language in a fun and engaging way. The new learning programme was introduced at a launch event in the Al Faisaliah Hotel attended by more than 95 education professionals.

Recognizing that an interactive approach plays a significant role in enriching children’s learning experience and development, the bilArabi programme uses an inquiry-based approach with engaging characters and stories that makes learning student-centred. bilArabi will be rolled across schools in the KSA and the UAE (first phase), with the potential of further expanding to other countries in the future. 

Often, the Arabic language teaching methods in schools is traditional, using a rote approach. Students – and especially those for whom Arabic is a second or even third language - struggle with this way of learning and will benefit immensely from the more intellectually stimulating approach offered by bilArabi.

Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030 is now the driving force behind a number of education reforms. The Kingdom has introduced wide-ranging initiatives to promote Arabic. The Prince Sultan Program for Arabic Language, in cooperation with UNESCO, was launched in 2007 by the late Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz to support and promote Arabic language and culture within the UN framework. A $3 million, five-year plan was launched in 2016 and in 2018 the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation celebrated Arabic Language Day at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, promoting Arabic as a channel to bridge the gap between different cultures. 

Majid Mneymneh, Country director at Pearson Education KSA commented, “The Kingdom has come a long way in terms of education in recent decades and is committed to transform its teaching methodologies. The country is home to 34 million people, so its reforms could be immensely influential in the wider Arab world. Arabic could be used increasingly across the world if institutions used engaging, student-centred approaches to learning the language in the classroom however, from our experience the language is still being taught as it was nearly 20 years back. In line with the country’s 2030 vision we are proud to introduce the bilArabi programme to students to reignite a love of Arabic and to reinvigorate learning of the language. The programme is engaging and interactive and is aimed at gently challenging young learners, while teaching them important language skills that research shows will aid them during their school years and into adulthood.”

“bilArabi is a rich curriculum that offers more than just language learning, with content that aims to develop a passion for Arabic history and culture and inspire trust in a bright future for the language. The course also includes 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, creativity and critical thinking to prepare students for high-stakes exams and the workplace,” added Dr. Hanada Taha, lead author of the bilArabi Arabic language programme and endowed Chair Professor of Arabic Language at Zayed University.

Pearson is committed to support innovation in education in the region and in KSA and bilArabi is a great example of this. The programme is the first inquiry-based Arabic language program for schools developed by a team of experts based in the Middle East, specifically for the Middle East market.

bilArabi is based on international language teaching standards, which means that students’ proficiency and progress are measured across a new quality benchmark for Arabic language acquisition, and one where learning outcomes are consistent across different schools and countries. It is accessible to all students with the inclusion of native and non-native strands and also uses a literature-based approach to develop a sense of cultural identity and pride in Arabic history through connections to past and current case studies. With the aim to enhance learning, imagination, cognitive and interactive experiences, the new language programme will bridge the current gap in the education sector. 

Learners can access their student eBook through the bilArabi digital platform and can also take part in online practice activities such as quizzes to test their Arabic language knowledge and understanding, extending learning beyond the classroom. The inclusion of ‘parent engagement’ sections in the Student’s Book actively involves parents in their child’s Arabic language learning development from the outset of the course. bilArabi offers a blended-learning approach that suits both traditional and more technologically advanced schools. 

Following a successful pilot currently being rolled out in selected schools, bilArabi learning programme will be launched this quarter for level 1-3 with international private schools in the KSA and UAE for first teaching in September 2019. Higher levels will be available from 2020 in the KSA, UAE and Kuwait.

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