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Arabic Mapping Project

On 25 May 2018, the British Academy launched a pilot for a project aiming to map foreign language teaching and research in the UK education sector.

Starting with Arabic, the interactive map shows teaching provision, capacity and pathways of the language, from secondary school to postdoctoral research on the culture and history of the Arabophone world.

Arabic is spoken by more than 250 million people across the Middle East and North Africa. Demand for Arabic speakers and interest in learning the language is likely to increase, given the social and political importance of the regions.

The British Academy is delighted to present a resource, which is the first in a proposed series to develop a comprehensive and interactive map of language provision throughout the UK. This follows concerns about falling student numbers for languages and cuts to university departments.

The map draws on data and reports from institutions including the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the British Council and data collected directly from universities to show:

  • The number of undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students learning Arabic.
  • The number of academic staff involved in researching and teaching Arabic.
  • The number and geographical distribution of higher education institutions (HEIs) offering Arabic.
  • The number of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level (including joint honours e.g. Arabic and Business).
  • The different varieties of Arabic taught.

This online interactive tool will enable universities and employers to identify centres of activity for different languages by identifying hotspots and gaps in language provision.

With the support of universities, the map will be regularly updated to build a more accurate picture of the provision of Arabic, and if the pilot is successful, similar maps will be developed for other languages.

We hope that you will find this interactive map useful.

You can also read the report on this pilot project.

Professor Nigel Vincent FBA, chair of the Project Steering Group.

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