Calgary's public school board won't be rolling out Arabic courses for high school students this year.
But a director with the organization said steps have been take to acquire a proper curriculum for learning the language and soon a search will be conducted for staff.
"We are going to use this year to do that work, to get it into shape so it aligns with our other programs," Sheila McLeod, director of global learning for the Calgary Board of Education, said, adding they'd like to open the program next September.
Initially, the CBE announced they were exploring a full-fledged elementary program that would see 50 per cent of all course material taught in Arabic after interest from dozens of parents.
That possibility was ruled out, however, after struggles were reported with finding qualified staff. Officials had talked optimistically of launching the high school program early next year.
But a group of parents hoping to enroll their youngsters in the elementary program have continuously pointed at a similar offering by Edmonton Public Schools as indication it can be done here.
"Our hope is that we're going to have a great interest from different students who are interested in taking up this new and exciting language opportunity," said McLeod.
A high school Arabic program in Edmonton was halted due to a lack of interest and Calgary mother Alex Poole isn't convinced it will thrive here either.
"Students at that age have strong views on where they'd like to go for high school, generally where their friends are going or where they have a trade interest, which is why the program was not successful in Edmonton," she said.
McLeod said student interest will ultimately dictate will ultimately decide the high school program's fate.
"We won't know until we ask," she said.
The CBE's planned high school Arabic program would be based in one school but allow students elsewhere to attend classes or learn the material online, McLeod said.