Would be of use in combating Islamic entrenchment in Western society, but it’s already a sign of the entrenchment taken root.
The country’s first Arabic language course at a high school starts this autumn at Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages.
The course is already fully booked.
“Students have asked for Arabic language studies for many years and now via the new curriculum it’s an option,” says the school’s principal Sirpa Jalkanen.
“There’s been huge interest in the course. When we opened registration for our Arabic language course, it filled up immediately,” says Jalkanen. The 32 available spots were quickly snapped up.
Located near Itäkeskus, the Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages is one of the few schools in the country that offers many languages and instruction that focuses on international affairs, foreign cultures and arts.
To date the school has taught ten languages: Swedish, English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Russian, Latin, Japanese, and Mandarin.
According to Finnish National Board of Education Counsellor Paula Mattila, Japanese and Mandarin have been taught in Finland before, but now that they are on the official curriculum it will increase study options for students.
Offering languages such as Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic that are not based on the Latin alphabet is also a first.
Mattila says the majority of Finland’s 300 secondary schools won’t immediately offer all of the new language options, but during the next five years there will many changes to education and and international cooperation via distance learning, for example.