On the heels of cutting mandatory French classes, the Calgary Board of Education is now considering Arabic language studies in city schools.
With a growing Arabic-speaking population, a group of parents banded together to petition the CBE for this change and with enough demand the board could move forward.
"We wanted to make second-language learning a choice," said Cathy Faber, CBE superintendant of Learning Innovations.
The news is welcomed by Arabic-speaking Calgarians.
"It's good for the language, and it will help keep the heritage," said Adnan Assaf, a member of
Calgary's Arabic community who would enrol his youngest daughter in the program if it existed.
"Having it as a second language can't hurt anyone."
Like all of CBE's bilingual programs, 30 per cent to 50 per cent of classes would be taught in Arabic, with the rest being taught in English. A cultural component would also be included.
The parents are expected to present their case May 19 at Central Memorial High School. The CBE is expected to make a decision thereafter.
Arabic would join four other languages offered by the CBE, including French, Spanish, German and Mandarin.