Dubai ruler launches free Arabic e-learning platform

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, prime minister of the UAE, launches the e-learning platform “Madrasa" in Dubai on Oct. 16. (Dubai Media Office photo via Twitter)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Dubai ruler launches free Arabic e-learning platform

  • "Madrasa" aims to be the largest free e-learning platform in the Arab world
  • It offers 5,000 world-class Arabic educational videos on subjects targeting all levels of school students

DUBAI: The Dubai government has launched a free e-learning education platform to cater for more than 50 million Arabic speaking students across the region and beyond.

“Madrasa” was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, prime minister of the UAE, under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI).

It aims to be the largest free e-learning platform in the Arab world, offering 5,000 world-class Arabic educational videos on subjects including science and mathematics and targeting all levels of school students from kindergarten to grade 12.

The project provides unique educational materials in Arabic, available online at no charge to more than 50 million Arab students around the world and is the culmination of the Translation Challenge, an effort to bring volunteers together to translate 11 million words of educational content into Arabic.

“Building a better future for our region starts in the classroom and e-learning can bridge the knowledge gap in the Arab world. Technology can offer millions of Arab students the opportunity to develop their scientific capabilities. We aspire to provide world-class education to every Arab child,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

He urged “all those who have the ability to do so to launch similar initiatives.” 

Inviting all Arab students to use the Madrasa platform, Sheikh Mohammed said: “My message to Arab students is: Education is your future and your weapon to navigate life.”

Omar Farooqui, a coding educationist and the founder of Coded Minds, said that this was an excellent initiative that will further cement Dubai at the forefront of the Arab world when it comes to progressive education standards.

“With the exponential advancement of technology making leaps forward one needs to understand that education is everyone’s right. Therefore offering part of the STEAM subjects, i.e. science and mathematics, goes a long way toward addressing a major gap that exists between education offered and education delivered to all,” said Farooqui.

Dr. Muna Amr, associate professor of educational studies at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, said that access to education in the Arab World has always been a major issue with school enrolment rates in the Arab region. 

“A few Arab countries are among the lowest in school enrolment. Such challenges require smart solutions such as the one this initiative offers; making education affordable and accessible to all children.”

She said: “Many studies have shown that e-learning now is one of the most powerful tools that, if used properly, will revolutionize education by improving its quality and accessibility. 

This initiative is expected to have a profound impact on improving educational levels and abilities for children from all backgrounds across the Arab region.”


Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

A member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) reacts next to policemen during a demonstration in solidarity with a HDP lawmaker on hunger strike in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, on February 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 50 sec ago
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Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

  • Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Turkish police on Friday prevented supporters from rallying outside the home of a pro-Kurdish lawmaker on hunger strike for 100 days.
The protest bid coincides with the 20th anniversary of the capture of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is jailed in a notorious prison island near Istanbul.
Leyla Guven of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), launched her action on Nov. 8 while in jail to protest against Ocalan’s prison conditions.
She was freed last month under judicial supervision but continued her protest, refusing any treatment. Guven, 55, is consuming only sugared or salted water.
Police on Friday blocked supporters from approaching Guven’s house in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir after a rally called by the HDP, an AFP correspondent said.
“The biggest task ahead of us today is to turn every aspect of life into an arena for struggle and support hunger strikes at the highest level,” HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir said.
“This dark picture and severe conditions of fascism can only be broken through our organized struggle,” Tasdemir said.
More than 200 prisoners are on hunger strike to protest what they call Ocalan’s isolation, according to the HDP.
Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011.
The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Ocalan was caught in Kenya outside the Greek Embassy in Nairobi on Feb. 15, 1999 by Turkish secret service agents after attempting to seek asylum in Europe.
Turkish authorities last month allowed Ocalan’s brother Mehmet to see him, the first visit in over two years.