By Mike Schuh

FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ)– With the rise of China and the continuance of conflicts in the Middle East, the United States realized it didn’t have enough U.S. born speakers of Arabic or Chinese.

Mike Schuh reports a new program hopes to change that.

George Miller’s lesson sounds like a history class, but instead it is an Arabic class.

“The purpose is for the student to get acquainted with the Middle Eastern culture,” said co-instructor Noel Miller.

Everyone decided to take the class for a different reason.

“Well, my religion book is in Arabic. I thought it would be good for me to come here to understand my religion book  more,” said sixth-grader Neha Malik.

Her classmate, Prince Addo, says such knowledge is exciting.

“What I like about it currently is I am learning things I’ve never learned before,” he said.

Arabic isn’t the only language being taught. There is also a Chinese class with 60 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in all.

These students may someday fill a need, as foreign-born speakers are often unable to help when the need for translation arises.

“The government has written many articles about how it’s difficult to get clearances for many of these people, and we’d love our American citizens to be able to communicate,” said world language specialist Donna Baker.

Right now, there’s funding to continue this program for the next two years.

The language program is open to all gifted and talented students in Anne Arundel County.


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