Will the publication of five volumes on modern physics count as proof of the viability of Arabic as a language of instruction for science and technology subjects?
Rabat – A Moroccan professor, Mohamed El Baghdadi, has published a five-volume encyclopedia on modern physics in Arabic.
The publication comes soon after the majority of the heads of political parties expressed approval of education minister Said Amzazi’s amendments of Law 51.17 favoring the use of French over Arabic as the language of instruction for sciences in late March.
There has since been wide controversy over the language of instruction for scientific and technological subjects in primary and secondary schools. Currently, only Arabic is used to teach the subjects.
While some claim that Arabic is incapable of keeping up with the evolution of scientific research, others claim that the Arabic language is a marker of identity.
To answer whether Arabic falls short in communicating science and technology, El Baghdadi released his encyclopedia in the Arabic language titled, “The Basics of Modern Physics” and published by Top Press in Rabat.
In response, members of the National Coalition for Arabic Languages have applauded the launch of the book and cited it as evidence to corroborate the viability of the Arabic language as a means of instruction for scientific and technological subjects.
The coalition stated that Arabic has been neglected and was confined to subject areas such as administration, economy, and teaching.
Following the proposal of Law 51.17, a number of activists, linguists, and public and political figures called for the government to abandon the bill in support of the constitutionally-recognized official languages, Arabic and Amazigh (Berber).
Those in support of foreign languages, such as French or English, claim that the European languages have broader appeal globally and more available textbooks.