Education Quarterly Reviews
Published: 29 March 2019
French Departments in Gulf Universities in Accordance with the Vision 2030: Reality, Challenges, and Prospects
Dr. Nada Mohammed Jameel Brengy
King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
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French is the sixth most commonly spoken language in the world and the second most taught language in the European Union. There are 274 million people who speak French worldwide. Since the introduction of the term ‘Francophone' in 1880 and the establishment of the International Organisation of Francophonie in 1970, countries that use French as an official language and French colonies have exerted their utmost efforts to revive and globally spread French. The French language has been spreading throughout the Gulf countries since the end of the twentieth century, on personal and academic levels. Saudi universities have established French-language departments in Jeddah and Riyadh. Gulf universities in Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Oman, and Qatar have also established French departments to teach French as a foreign language or as an elective course. This study discusses the prospects and challenges of the French departments in some Gulf universities in view of the educational objectives of the 2030 Vision and the language policy in the Gulf states. It analyses their curricula and identifies the most important challenges facing these departments, including finding job opportunities for the graduates, competition in the labour market, and the weakness of certain students. The research will make suggestions as to the prospects for the future of the French departments in the Gulf States.
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