Role of English and Arabic in Education
Following the birth of Bangladesh, Bangla came to replace English as the medium of instruction. Bangla also became the sole national language and the standard language of communications. The initial shortage of Bangla textbooks and other instructional materials was alleviated by the accelerated production of textbooks in the vernacular under the patronage of government education departments. The Bangla Academy also played a pioneering role in this area. In the 1980s, British education was maintained marginally through private English-language institutions attended by upper class children. English continued to be offered as an elective subject in most institutions of higher education and was offered as a subject for bachelor's and master's degrees.
Initially, Arabic also lost ground in independent Bangladesh. This trend ended in the late 1970s, however, after Bangladesh strengthened its ties with Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich, Arabicspeaking countries. An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1983 to introduce Arabic as a required language in primary and secondary levels. In the late 1980s, Arabic was studied in many Muslim homes in Bangladesh as an integral part of religious instruction. Aside from courses in religious schools, however, Arabic was not a popular subject at the college and university level.
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