The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) appear to have been ignorant of the fact that Arabic already exists as an examinable subject of study in Ghana’s Senior High Schools (SHS).
Both parties have recently on separate election campaign platforms stated that they will introduce Arabic as an examinable subject in Ghana’s High Schools if given the mandate to govern, but according to a former Director of General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Michael Kenneth Nsowah, the subject is already being taken by some students in Senior High Schools.
According to him, the Ghana Education Service already has as part of the SHS curriculum, Arabic studies with a few schools in the country presenting candidates each year to take the exams.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Friday [November 11], Mr Nsowah said, “already included in the SHS curriculum is Arabic and in actual fact students for this year wrote Arabic on the 29th of March… it is already there so the issue that they are going to be introduced to the curriculum; it is already there,” he said.
He said although the subject has been examinable for years, it is written by relatively few students.
He underscored the need for qualified Arabic teachers to adequately prepare students to write the exams.
“This subject can only be written or can only be taught when you have qualified teachers, and I wonder how many qualified teachers we have in Ghana who can teach Arabic to the level that they will be examined at WASSCE level.”
He accused the political parties of not consulting broadly on the subject before coming out publicly to announce that package as one of their plans for education in the next government.
‘NDC to make Arabic examinable subject’
The Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah earlier this week said it will from 2017 make Arabic an examinable subject in basic and Senior High Schools in Ghana. He made the announcement when he interacted with the Muslim Community at Nsawam Zongo, as part of his campaign tour of the Eastern Region.
“President Mahama has agreed that, from 2017, Senior High School students will study Arabic like they do in the English language and we will introduce it at the basic level in 2018 and make it examinable,” he said.
‘NPP will prioritize Arabic education’
Mahamudu Bawumia, the vice-presidential nominee of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), last month also said his party will introduce Arabic as an optional subject to the Junior and Senior High curriculum if it wins power in December.
He told party faithfuls in Tamale that, although Arabic is a course at the university level, it is not studied at the basic level, so students lack the foundation on which to build if they opt to learn Arabic at the university.
He said the introduction of Arabic at the basic level will also create jobs for Islamic clerics who will be teaching the subject.