The Sunday Mail
THE diploma in Arabic, which is being offered free of charge by the New Hope Charity College, a Muslim educational centre, has been well-received.
The diploma programme, which is accredited by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education was introduced in 2017 with an initial intake of 40 students.
Of the these, 27 were male, with the remainder being women.
The number of students increased to 129 during the 2018 intake.
Of the 129 students, 95 are male with 34 females registering.
Sheikh Shuab Asali, who heads the Arabic Department at New Hope College said the diploma programme has been well-received as evidenced by the increase in the number of students that are enrolling for the programme.
Sheikh Asali, is however, not happy with number of women who are enrolling for the programme.
“I am happy that we have had a 100 percent increase in enrolment figures. My wish is to have more women enrolling for the programme. Women should come out of their shells and get equipped for future opportunities,” Sheikh Asali said.
Sheikh Asali said the programme is also open to non-muslims.
“The programme is open to anyone and not limited to Muslims. Let me make this clear, we are not saying that if one enrols for the programme, then that person should become a Muslim,” Sheikh Asali added.
According to the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO), Arabic is the official language to more than 20 countries, with more than 220 million people speaking the language.
The chairperson of the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Foreign Languages, Dr Herbert Mushangwe said the country‘s largest tertiary institution is considering introducing Arabic as one of the many foreign languages that are taught at the university.
Apart from African languages, Chinese, French and Portuguese are some of the foreign languages that are taught at UZ.
“It is of importance to note that Arabic has gained popularity over the years, with the number of countries and people that are speaking the language ever increasing. I therefore implore Zimbabweans to take advantage of the fact that the programme is being offered for free,” Dr Mushangwe said.
To maintain lower teacher/student ratios, the college split the 169 students into seven classes and the first intake is scheduled to graduate in June next year.