The place of Arabic language teaching in Australian universities

Jennifer Baldwin (University of Melbourne, Elsternwick, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Publication date: 4 June 2018



The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the teaching of Arabic language has had a distinctive and important history in Australian universities from the middle of the twentieth century through to the twenty-first century.


In this paper, the author draws on a range of sources, government reports and surveys (both general and specific to Arabic), newspaper articles and published literature to give a comprehensive picture of the teaching of Arabic language in Australian universities over the last 60 or so years.


This paper has demonstrated that Arabic language teaching has moved through a number of phases as a scholarly, migrant and trade language. However, although the Middle East has become strategically important for Australia in defence and foreign affairs, and many people from the Middle East have migrated to Australia, Arabic (the major language of the Middle East) has never been given high priority by governments in Australia.


This paper, in taking an historical perspective, has demonstrated how Arabic has never commanded the attention of governments for funding to the same extent as Asian languages have.



Baldwin, J. (2018), "The place of Arabic language teaching in Australian universities", History of Education Review, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 77-86.

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