With the growing number of South Africans' relocating to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Scholars International Academy (SIA) is to begin teaching Afrikaans as part of its Language Immersion programme. 


The objective of introducing the language is to address the child development needs of a sizeable and growing local community of 50 000 South Africans. Afrikaans will be offered to students from Grade one upwards.
The move would make SIA the first school in the region to offer the language as part of it regular curriculum.
Afrikaans, a Low Franconian dialect derived from Dutch, is mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia with a smaller number of speakers in Botswana, Angola, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Manda Hamman, community liaison atScholars International Group (SIG) and founder of the South African Women’s Association, says: “Given the large South African community of over 50 000 people in the Emirates, we found it imperative to create a specialised programme for this group, so that their children have the ability to retain their cultural heritage and sense of self-identity, which is important to their development and educational success.”
Language plays an essential role in bridging cultures and provides students with a diverse and rich learning experience.
Aparna Verma, MD of SIA and a UAE-based educationalist for more than 30 years, adds:“The purpose of offering the language immersion programme at SIA also fits into the overall mission of the school, which is to graduate students that go on to become effective global citizens and leaders."
All language programmes will be taught using the Scholars Immersive Methodology, where the focus is on developing native linguistic fluency through cultural interest. Students will be taught languages within the contextual framework of literature, history, geography, art, music and drama of the culture.
“To make language learning fun, children will also be exposed to cultural events, social activities, films, music and excursions related to the language and culture, so as to develop an out of class appreciation,” adds Hamman.