Students show demand for Arabic class

A growing desire among some students to learn Arabic has led to one of the most successful turnouts for a non-credit class at Tech. Nineteen out of the 20 seats available for the “Basic Arabic” class that started Monday have been filled, and plans for more classes are being drawn up for the spring.”This one has been the biggest as far as the number of people and the amount of interest shown in it.” Dennis Tennant, Extended Programs and Regional Development associate director, said.

After students inquired about the possibility of an Arabic course, the foreign language department approached Extended Programs and informed them of the interest.

“The people I have talked to personally have all been pleased the campus is offering something like this to better improve themselves,” Tennant said.

The positive reception of the course has encouraged Extended Programs to begin looking at expanding the program.

“We intend to advance from a beginner class to an intermediate and then an advanced class,” Tennant said. “We look forward to growing the program.”

Interested people who missed the class this semester can begin in the spring. The 12-week beginner class, taught by Amel Alouani, is designed for non-Arabic speaking students and covers the Arabic alphabet and basic communication skills. The course is non-credit and is offered as a basic self-improvement course at a cost of $100.

In the 2000 census, 1.2 million people reported themselves as having Arab or Arabic-speaking ancestry. The Arab American Institute estimates that Arab Americans have a national population of over 3.5 million.

The Extended Programs and Regional Development department offers many credit and non-credit courses as well as online certification classes for job training, personal enrichment and skill building.