Al-Ibaanah Center

Al-Ibaanah Center

Al-Ibaanah Arabic Center, located in the heart of bustling Nasr City, (Cairo) Egypt, has quickly become a forerunner in Arabic Language education for non-native speakers. Founded in 2003, Al-Ibaanah is fully accredited and licensed by the Egyptian Ministry of Education.

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Rating: 7.6/10 (39 votes cast)

Al-Ibaanah Center, 7.6 out of 10 based on 39 ratings

2 Comments to Al-Ibaanah Center

  1. raimikalam

    I studied at Al-Ibaanah during the academic year 2010/11 (with a January & February hiatus due to the revolution!). I had 2 friends going there already, and it was a 15-20 minute walk from where I was living, so it was ideal for me. Also, as I was staying in Cairo for the year, Ibaanah was the most cost-effective, as it worked out to be the cheapest hourly rate for private tuition – about 17LE/hr compared with Diwan who were charging 50LE/hr!

    First off, if you are not a fan of grammar & approaching Arabic from a heavily grammar-based method, then Ibaanah is definitely not for you. Ibaanah produces their own textbooks for each level of Arabic they run, which was one of the things I found most appealing – I think studying a course is always better if the centre produces their own syllabus/material, as it’s more effective, and all their teachers are trained to teach those particular levels. The books are very good, comprehensive, and ideal to revise from after you return from Egypt, although some sections are unnecessarily complicated and your teacher will probably skip over those bits too! All levels are taught in Arabic from day 1 and the teachers are not allowed to communicate with the students in English, which makes for a great learning curve.

    If you have limited time in Egypt (even a year goes by very quickly!) then I would strongly advise you to study privately, as you can get a lot more done at your own pace, you can tweak your classes according to your needs, and particularly because the Ibaanah course is more focused on written Arabic, private classes give you more opportunity to practice spoken Arabic. Each Level runs for 6weeks generally, but when studying privately you can take more or less time than this, but 6 weeks of full-time study is just the right amount of time to complete each level with good understanding. There is a fair bit of homework, but that’s to be expected if you’re studying something full-time and intensively.

    One thing I found difficult to adapt to with the Ibaanah system is that you do not have just one teacher throughout your studies. Every 6 weeks, when the new sessions begin for group classes, the teachers get rotated and re-assigned their students, so usually you will be assigned a new teacher for each level, particularly as the best teachers are always in high demand for the group classes. You can request to keep the same teacher for another level, but it’s at their discretion. Also, each teacher is only trained in 2 or 3 levels usually, so after a certain point you will need to change teacher. This has pros and cons. For me the biggest issue was that I find it difficult to adjust and relax to new people, so just as I’d be comfortable with my teacher halfway through the level, I’d have to get a new one 3 weeks later. Also, I had the good fortune to have the best teacher in the centre as my first one alhamdulillah, which meant that I quite resented changing teachers after the first level. The advantages of this system is that 1) you have an incentive to finish quickly and alongside the group levels, so that you don’t risk changing teachers mid-level, 2) your spoken Arabic improves a lot as you have to adapt to the different vocab and style of different teachers, and 3) if you have a bad experience with one teacher, you can always change and hopefully get a better one.

    The other thing about the Ibaanah system is that registration takes place for the next 6week block, in the middle of each session – so around the 3rd week – and demand is very high for private classes and particularly for morning classes – so if you miss registration day, you can get put on a waiting list for private classes and may have to join a group one. This is quite annoying and I feel a flawed system, because students who are already doing the early morning classes will be there first thing in the morning on registration day, so they get to sign up first, so the other students would have to go out of their way to come hours before their actual lesson time to register. I would recommend anyone who can to always register for as early classes as possible (at Ibaanah it was 7-11am) due to the Cairo heat, because if you intend to walk to classes, the heat can be unbearable if your classes are in the afternoon. Also it means you have the whole day free after class to study, go out etc.

    One thing I would rate highly about Ibaanah is that they know all their students, and it feels like one big family. The teachers are all quite young (at uni/recently graduated) so you get along well, and Umm Jamila (the manager on the sisters’ side) is very open to feedback and personal requests. They are also very efficient, and very honest – for example if you miss a number of days during one session, they will roll those over into the next session, whether you cancel the class or the teacher cancels. Another thing is that the centre is quite strict on their teachers – no personal phone calls, being prompt for students, being particular about writing things clearly with full tashkeel etc, which other centres may not be so particular about. On a side note, most of the women there wear niqab and full black abaya, and the syllabus is very Islamic-orientated, so there’s stories of the prophets, hadith, ayats etc, and the scenarios are all of ideal Muslim families etc – so if you don’t like that kind of thing, you probably won’t feel comfortable studying at Ibaanah. I wanted to study for the purpose of Islamic Studies, so I really enjoyed that aspect, particularly analysing the grammar of Qur’anic verses, and the niqab didn’t bother me because I never felt under pressure to wear niqab to/from the centre, and once inside none of the teachers wear niqab in class.

    • waleed2055

      Thanks for sharing; this was quite helpful as I have been looking into going to Ibaanah as well. Could you please comment on how you felt your speaking skills were at the end of the program? I heard they don’t put too much emphasis on that, and students come out not being able to speak well. Not sure if that’s still true, but I’d appreciate you elaborating on that. thanks

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