Students' Beliefs about Arabic Language Programs at Kuwait University

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Educational outcome of schooling is the key factor of the demand for schooling. The need for education is kind of human capital investment, because it confers benefits on individuals, enterprises, and societies as a whole. These benefits can take two forms: market benefits like earnings, and non market benefits such as life goals (McMahon, 2006).

Based on various benefits of education, Kuwaiti's public education enrollment at all levels has increased considerably over time (Ministry of Education, 2008), and public expenditures on education have also accordingly increased. So, the crucial questions facing educators in Kuwait now involve the content of schooling at all levels: What does the educational process produce now and what should the education process produce in order to achieve the optimal goals of education?

Language-related programs are among those that have undergone close examination of content and delivery methods. In Kuwait, there are two types of programs which dominate the scene related to teaching and learning of Arabic; and these are: Liberal arts-oriented program and education-oriented program (Kuwait University, 2006). Equally important is the decision taken by individuals to pursue education in terms of the cost to individuals and the need to meet academic requirements and deferred entry into the labor market. Thus, individuals are viewed as important stakeholders to be considered in any educational policy studies; therefore, they are assumed to be rationale consumers when deciding which academic program to choose (Yuan, 2008).

Statement of the Problem

The aim of this study is to examine the beliefs of students of Arabic teaching program at the College of Education and students of Arabic language at the Faculty of Arts about their respective programs. The research problem is guided by the following research questions:

1. Do students of Arabic teaching program at the College of Education differ in their motivations for joining a such program, their career intentions and their choice of program than students of Arabic Language at the Faculty of Arts?

2. Do students of Arabic teaching program at the College of Education differ in their perceptions of future employers' expectations than students of Arabic Language at the Faculty of Arts?

3. Do students of Arabic teaching program at the College of Education differ in their aspirations for career development and long term life goals than students of Arabic Language at the Faculty of Arts?

It is hoped that the current study would provide educational policy makers with data which they will communicate with prospective students and to give a better understanding of the students' beliefs prior to college enrollment.

Definitions of Terms

Beliefs

Refer to the assumptions we make about ourselves, about others in the world and about how we expect things to be. Beliefs are about how we think things really are. Beliefs tend to be deep set and our values stem from our beliefs (Pietrandrea, 2009).

Program of study

"A planned series of experiences is a particular range of subjects or skills, offered by institutions and undertaken by one or more learners" (Aggarwal & Thakur, 2003, p. 20). In the present context, it is the type of the course that students choose to complete their degrees in Arabic language. They are the language-based and liberal arts-based programs.

Students of Arabic at the College of Education

Students who are preparing to be teachers of Arabic as a mother tongue language (language-based program).

Students of Arabic at the Faculty of Arts

Students who study Arabic for its own sake (liberal arts-based program).

Hedonistic Motivation:

Refers to intrinsic interest or enjoyment in the participant.

Pragmatic Motivation:

Refers to choosing a specific program of study for vocational and longer-term reason. …