With over 400 million native speakers and a further 100–200 million people across northern Africa and southwestern Asia, for whom it is their second language, Arabic ranks as the fourth most widely spoken language in the world and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations (UN).
However only around five or six percent of secondary schools in England teach Arabic, the majority of which are Muslim faith schools (figures for other parts of the UK are not available). If Arabic is taught it is often only as an extracurricular subject or in the supplementary sector.
The British Council has been working over the past 5 years to address this challenge and, through various initiatives, we have reached over 4500 young people and over 75 schools to increase their knowledge of Arabic and the Arab world.
We will continue to advocate for the teaching of Arabic as a Modern Language in UK State Schools however, we are currently reviewing the best ways in which we can achieve this. To be the first to hear about new opportunities for schools through the British Council, sign up to our newsletter or follow us on X (previously Twitter) or Facebook.
If you are interested in introducing Arabic in your school then the following resources are available to help you.