The impact of the KHDA policy on teaching Arabic as a first language: An exploratory study among selected schools in Dubai

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Having policy in place to monitor schools’ performance is one of the most important aspects in the process of improving teaching Arabic in Dubai schools in order to provide decision makers with accurate data. This research aims to examine the impact of Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) policy on teaching Arabic as a first language in Dubai schools in order to suggest a set of recommendations that might enhance the nature of teaching Arabic. The research sheds light on the importance of Arabic language and its usage among its speakers. It also reviews related studies which highlight the impact of using policies in the teaching process. The methodology used in this research is a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Questionnaire, interviews and samples of student’s writings in different types of schools are the main materials of the research. The study surveyed and interviewed two heads of Arabic departments, a KHDA inspector, 31 Arabic teachers and 17 students. The research reviews the main components of KHDA policy and the standards used by inspectors to reach the final judgement during school inspections. The study provides a comparison between policies used in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and The United Kingdom (UK). It also compares the quality of students’ writings in Arabic and non-Arabic schools. The research findings show positive impacts of KHDA policy in raising the profile of the Arabic language in Dubai schools, especially in non-Arabic ones. The study however reveals areas needed to be reviewed in order to make the current KHDA standards more effective in the process of evaluating the performance of Arab students in British schools.
Arabic language, Arab students, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Arabic schools, KHDA policy, non-Arabic schools