Saudi Parents’ Attitudes towards Using English as a Medium of Instruction in Private Primary Schools

Zahra Al-Qahtani, Abdul Wahed Al Zumor


This study sought to investigate Saudi parents’ attitudes towards using English as a medium of instruction (EMI) in private primary schools.The study also attempted to find the reasons why Saudi parents prefer EMI private schools for their children. Additionally, it examined the effects of using EMI on children’s Arabic language and culture, and their educational achievement in the next levels. The sample was 68 Saudi parents who have their children in a private primary school. The study used a questionnaire for data collection. It used a mixed design since data were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative data were analyzed through statistical analysis (SPSS) while qualitative data were analyzed through content analysis using the categorization of themes. The results of this study showed that Saudi parents have positive attitudes towards using EMI in international private primary schools. Many Saudi parents prefer to send their children to EMI private primary schools, because they realize the importance of English as an international language, which can provide better opportunities for their children in the future. Also, they prefer to send their children to these schools, where English is used as a medium of instruction, because it is more effective if the child learned the language at an early age. However, some parents expressed a belief that English has negatively affected their children’s Arabic language.



English medium instruction, Bilingual education, Parents, Attitudes, Private schools

Full Text:



Ahmed, K. (2010). The Arabic language: Challenges in the modern world. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education (IJCDSE), 1(3), 283-292.

Al- Abdaly, A. H. (2012). The impact of English as a medium of instruction on science learning: Perception of the medicine female students and academic staff at King Khalid University (master’s thesis). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Al- Hussein, A., M. (2004).Saudi parents’ attitude towards their children learning English as a second language in the United States. Retrieved from

Cummins, J. (2001). Linguistic interdependence and educational development of bilingual children. In C. Baker & N. Hornberger (Eds.), an introductory Reader to the Writing of Jim Cummins (pp. 63-95). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Davis-Kean & Schnabel, K. U. (2001). The impact of socio-economic characteristics on child outcomes: The mediating role of parents’ beliefs and behaviors. Child Development, Under review, in Feinstein, L. Duckworth, K, & Sabates, R. (2004). A Model of the Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Success. Wider Benefits of Learning (Report No.10). Retrieved from

Ebad, R. (2014). The role and impact of English as a language and a medium of instruction in Saudi higher education institutions: Students-instructors perspective. Study in English Language Teaching, 2 (2), 142-143. Retrieved from

Fillmore, L. W. (1991). When learning a second language means losing the first. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 6 (3), 323–346. Retrieved from JSTOR database.

Fillmore, L.W. (2000). Loss of family languages: Should educators be concerned? Theory into Practice, 39 (4), 203-210. Retrieved from

Gutman, L.M. &Akerman, R. (2008).Determinants of aspirations. Center for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning (Report No. 27). Retrieved from

Hanani, F. (2009). Impact of English on young Arabs’ use of Arabic in the UAE: A Thesis in teaching English to speakers of other languages (master’s thesis). Retrieved from

Kachru, B., Kachru, Y., & Nelson, C. (2006). The handbook of world Englishes. Oxford: Blackwell.

Mouhanna, M. (2010).The medium of instruction debate in foundation math and IT. What’s the Role of L1? UGRU Journal, fall issue, 1-15.

Peresuh, M., &Mashukn, J. (2002). The Role of the primary language in the bilingual-bicultural education in Zimbabwe.Zambezia, XXIX (i), 1-11. Retrieved from Journals/pdfs/Journal of the University of Zimbabwe/vol29n1/juz029001004.pdf

Phillipson, R., &Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (1996). English only worldwide or language ecology? TESOL Quarterly, 30(3). Retrieved January 12, 2014, from

Sammons. (2007). EPPE 3-11 influences on children’s development and progress in Key Stage 2: Social/behavioral outcomes in Year 5 (Report No. RR007). Retrieved from

Thirunavukkarsu, K. (2011). Reintroduction of English as medium of instruction in Sri Lanka: With a special reference to Jaffna. International Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, 1(1), 1-8. . Retrieved from, pp. 1-8.Pdf



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.