MOVES are under way to get Arabic taught to schoolchildren in Scotland.

Muslim charity Dar Al-Falaah Community Education Association has begun lobbying MSPs for the inclusion of the language in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.

The charity says there is a high demand for the subject, which the group already teaches to more than 100 four to 16-year-olds at weekend classes in Glasgow.

Abdel Kadar, chairman of the association which provides educational, cultural and social activities for children in the city, said putting Arabic on the curriculum would be help community cohesion.

He said: "In England, Arabic is taught and they have GCSEs and A-Levels, but not here in Scotland."

The attempt to have Arabic taught in Scottish schools comes amid a historic decline in the number of pupils taking modern languages in Higher exams.

In 2011, the Scottish Government committed to teaching primary pupils two foreign languages.

But the proposal has come under fire from parents and councils who claim it is unachievable.

The decision on which languages to teach in schools lies with individual local authorities. The curriculum does not have a list of languages that can be taught, instead the decision is made by councils based on issues including demand for the subject, the availability of registered teachers and the cost of provision, as well as whether any exams are available.

Dan Tierney, a reader in language education at Strathclyde University, said: "It could be beneficial [to teach Arabic] as part of a general language awareness programme, whereby children could become aware of the different languages that exist in our communities.

"It would be more difficult if we were to have it as a continuous language from primary one through to S4; getting that continuity would be quite difficult."

He said teaching Arabic would fit in with the wider aims of the Curriculum for Excellence, but said:

"It would be difficult to achieve it across the board simply because we don't have the teaching staff and it would take a lot to train the staff."

Glasgow MSP Hanzala Malik said he would support the campaign.

He said: "We engage with the modern Arab world, we traditionally have very close historic links with the Arab world and I think it is appropriate that our next generation is fully skilled to engage with people in their languages. It is a wonderful idea and I hope they are successful in achieving that."

Malik said that there were a lot of private and community schools across Scotland which teach Arabic – many of them in Glasgow.

He added that if schools took on the teaching of Arabic it would "open up an opportunity for all children, rather than those specifically from the minority community".

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said the authority was considering introducing master classes in Arabic and other community languages.

She said: "Arabic is not currently taught in our schools as there are not appropriately qualified teachers in the subject, nor are there SQA examinations in Arabic.

"However, - we are looking at developing master classes in community languages, of which Arabic is one of those under consideration."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "It is a matter for local authorities to decide what languages to teach."