The Sunday Mail
UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe, in partnership with Harare based Islamic organisation — New Hope Foundation — is set to introduce Arabic language as the institution’s fifth language after Mandarin, French, Portuguese and German.
In 2017, New Hope Foundation introduced a well-received Arabic free-of-charge diploma, with the first group of 41 set to graduate next Friday.
UZ Foreign languages Professor, who is also Director of Confucius Institute, Dr Herbert Mushangwe said the Department has already given a nod to the introduction of the language.
“As University of Zimbabwe, Arabic is going to be our fifth language. It will soon be incorporated on the prospectus. As a department, we have already agreed that we need the language and so far, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)between New Hope Foundation and UZ is under examination for signing,” he said.
After the signing of the MOU, which is expected by mid-June, Dr Mushangwe said Arabic language will be introduced. The introduction will coincide with the August intake. With prospects of job opportunities in Arab countries, Dr Mushangwe is optimistic that the introduction will go a long way in creating opportunities for the graduates.
He said most countries are adopting the Arabic language. Zimbabwe, in line with President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra, is pursuing ways of becoming more globally competitive.
“Arabic language is recognised by United Nations as an important language and looking at the growing population of the language speakers, there is potentially a huge market. In this global village, there is a growing need to conduct various research programmes. Therefore, this will equip many to conduct market research and explore available opportunities,” he said.
New Hope Foundation’s Head of the Arabic department, Sheikh Shuaibu Asali said the institution’s first graduation ceremony marks the beginning of its success story. The diploma programme, accredited by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, was rolled out in 2017, with intakes increasing to 129 and 141 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
According to a 2017 United Nations document on official languages, the Arabic language is officially spoken in more than 20 countries. Unesco cites that the language has more than 220 million speakers in the world.
“In 1973, the United Nations adopted Arabic language as one of its official languages and it has become one of the most authentic languages in the world. Such programmes will benefit Zimbabwe at large because they come with opportunities. If properly utilised, this will go a long way in instituting relations in the international domain.
“It is of importance to note that in the recent past, the Arabic language has gained a lot of popularity and the number of countries and people speaking it has increased significantly. I therefore, implore people to utilise such opportunities,” said Sheikh Asali.
As a charitable organisation, New Hope Foundation will continue to offer the diploma for free.
However, students pay a registration fee of RTGS $10.