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September 03, 2002

Saudi English Plans Shelved

Saudi Arabia has cancelled plans (which we reported on June 24th) to introduce English language lessons at public elementary schools following fierce criticism from the kingdom's powerful religious community. The country's education ministry had begun preparing for the introduction of the classes in September, including training 300 local teachers, and was in the process of hiring 900 foreign teachers. But now the Committee for Educational Policy must wait for King Fahd to make a final decision. The king is expected to side with the conservative Islamic activists, who fear that religious education would be sidelined by English classes. A widespread network of private international schools, also under the supervision of the education ministry, already teaches in English.

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