The nine Irish schools set to teach Arabic
Students across Northern Ireland will be learning Arabic this year.
Nine schools in Northern Ireland are participating in the initiative started by the British Council's Arabic Culture and Language Programme.
The council has ranked Arabic as the second most important language to the UK over the next 20 years - but only 1% of schools in the UK teach the language.
Paul Porter, the head of modern and classical languages at Belfast Royal Academy, said he wanted to bring Arabic to his school partly to combat the media's negative impression of Arabic and to "change people's perceptions of the language".
"It's a beautiful language, a beautiful culture," Mr Porter said.
"The seeds we plant now might blossom into acceptance and respect."
The schools taking part are Belfast Royal Academy, Shimna Integrated College, Methodist College, St Columb's College, St Malachy's Primary, St Catherine's College, St Patrick's Grammar, Saints & Scholars and St Patrick's Primary.