Why Arabic? Why Now?

Arabic is on the Rise 

How do we know this? Here are some quick facts: 

  • Over 422 million people around the world speak Arabic 
  • Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world 
  • Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations 
  • Arabic is the official language of more than 27 countries 
  • In the U.S., Arabic is the second most common language spoken by English Language Learners after Spanish 
  • In Sweden, Arabic is the next-most spoken mother-tongue language after Swedish 
  • In the UK, Arabic is ranked among the top ten languages for the UK’s future.

But the Arabic language’s impact extends beyond the numbers. Learning Arabic opens a world of opportunities – including summer study, college scholarships, careers, connection to family heritage, travel opportunities and more. Learning Arabic also opens students’ eyes to new perspectives and shapes them into better global citizens. 

So why don’t more schools offer Arabic language classes?  

Foreign language programs in schools often lack support and funding because they are not considered ‘core’ subjects like math and science. In addition, misconceptions surrounding the Arabic language have made schools less likely to offer the language in the past.  

Why should more schools offer Arabic language classes? 

Research shows that learning a foreign language like Arabic has a positive impact on speakers’ executive function, boosts brain capacity, and leads to more job opportunities and a higher salary. Research also shows that students attain higher proficiency in the language they begin learning it at the primary and secondary levels, rather during the university years or as an adult.  

What is QFI doing about it? 

Because language learning at a young age is so important for proficiency, QFI supports innovative, research-based Arabic language programs at primary and secondary schools and works to increase access to Arabic instruction for educators and students around the world. 

Learn more about our grants, opportunities, resources and research. 

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