[lg policy] Philippines: Why a Training for Work Scholarship Program for Arabic language?

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 30 14:51:48 UTC 2010

Why a TWSP for Arabic language program?
A Concept paper on the proposed Training for Work Scholarship Program
on the Arabic
Language program
1. Rationale:

The Philippines is currently beset by a number of problems which is most
pronounced by lack of jobs in the country. Middle East plays a vital role in the
economic survival of the Philippines. It accounts for most of our oil
to run vital
industries in the country; at present it is the largest single
employer of OFWs - 3.5
million of them. The last remaining avenue for the majority of
Filipinos to uplift their
economic lives is to work as overseas contract workers and at the rate that the
economy is going, the country will never cease as a labor exporting
country in the
next thirty (30) years.

However, if we will not institutionalize some measures that will ensure the
sustainability of our edge over our competitors, we might lose this
labor opportunity
in the next ten years. Right now in the Middle East, our OFWs are facing stiff
competition from skilled workers coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia,
India, among others, and their edge over the Filipino worker is that they speak
Arabic. In fact, these competitors are fast getting our job markets which are
traditionally intended for Filipinos. Most of our employers in the
Middle East don’t
speak English but speak only Arabic. In addition, most of the legal
cases involving
Filipinos stem from cultural and linguistic differences due to the
language barrier.

Because of this, if we want to sustain our labor niche in the next
scores of years,
study of the Arabic language should be mode a must for the OFW who intend
to work in the Middle East.

Lastly, the raison d’ étre why Arabic is made one of the major
languages spoken in
United Nations is because of the geopolitical and economic importance
of the Middle
East, which makes it a prime reason why budding diplomats brush up to
learn Arabic
as an additional language.

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