Students in Ghana’s senior high schools will have to take Arabic as a optional subject starting September 2017.
This was announced by the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, while he was speaking at a campaign event at Nsawam Zongo in the Eastern Region. According to Debrah, the programme will then be rolled out in 2018 at basic schools in the country.
“President Mahama has agreed that from 2017 senior high school students will have to study Arabic like they do in the English language and we will introduce it at the basic level in 2018 and make it examinable.”
This follows the re-introduction of the language as one of the elective subjects on the roster of the West Africa Secondary School Certificate Examinations.
According to Debrah, the Wenchi Teacher Training College has initiated a programme to provide teachers for the subject. Muslims make up 18 percent of Ghana’s total population according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census.
This decision to make Arabic compulsory is expected to cause a major uproar in Ghana. Critics are likely to point out that most school children have difficulty speaking and reading Ghana’s local languages, which are not compulsory in most senior high schools. There is likely to be a rebellion from Ghana’s largely Christian-run mission schools.