The Qatar Foundation International (QFI) granted $100,000 to a Texas school district to promote Arabic language and culture classes that begin next school year. This marks the third school district in Texas to accept funds from the Qatari non-profit’s global gift-giving arm.
The Austin Independent School District accepted the $100,000 from QFI to jump start new Arabic language and culture classes coming to three of its campuses in Fall 2016. The grant funds teacher salaries, curriculum development, instructional materials and unnamed resources.
Also, the University of Texas at Austin’s Arabic Flagship Program supports Austin ISD’s new Arabic classes. UT-Austin is one of four federally funded Arabic flagship college campus programs nationwide. Other participating universities are in Arizona, Maryland, and Oklahoma. The program started in 2000.
The Flagship Language program says it strives to prepare students to enter college with a “measurable” second language skill and to “push the model” to the elementary level, calling it vital to “educate a citizenry prepared to address the nation’s well-being in the 21st century.” The language program currently boasts 27 Flagship centers that provide a pathway to professional-level proficiency in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, and Turkish.