A Manhattan public elementary school will begin requiring students to take a mandatory Arabic class for 45 minutes twice a week, putting it on the same level as science and music courses, the New York Post reports.
PS 368 in Hamilton Heights will start the classes next semester, and all students from second to fifth grade will be enrolled.
Nicky Kram Rosen, the school’s principal, said the language was chosen because it enhances the school’s chance of obtaining International Baccalaureate standing.
According to NY1.com, the Global Language Project is providing teachers and the Qatar Foundation is paying for them.
A pilot program is already being taught, and students taking the class said that it was challenging at first, according to the Post.
“Arabic has been identified as a critical-need language,” said Angela Jackson, CEO of the Global Language Project. “It means they can spin the globe and decide where they want to work and live.”
Jackson said the school will deal with students who object to taking the course on a case-by-case basis.