A German “education expert” proposed Wednesday that Arabic becomes a mandatory subject in German schools to enable refugees and Germans to coexist.
Thomas Strothotte, president of Kühne Logistics University and a renowned voice in education issues, told Die Zeit that society as a whole would benefit and “keep up” with a new reality from becoming increasingly multicultural. Strothotte has served as president at several German universities and founded two private schools in the city of Magdeburg.
“We would appreciate being a country of immigration and multiple languages,” Strothotte said. “Refugee children need to learn German and German children Arabic.”
Strothotte believes increased understanding of Arabic will have positive effects on Germany culturally, economically and politically.
Strothotte is not the first to call for Arabic classes in the German curriculum. Christian Wiesenhütter, deputy chief executive for the Berlin Camber of Commerce, called Arabic a new “world language” back in 2013, long before the Syrian refugee crisis was on the horizon. Strothotte primarily wanted to boost German business with the idea.
“We must finally acknowledge that Arabic is a world language,” he said. “We have to stay on pace.”
State-run broadcaster Deutsche Welle started an Arabic speaking radio channel in December. DW Chairwoman Karola Wille said it was “an important signal” during a “difficult phase” when the broadcaster announced the launch two months ago.