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

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.”

Several killed in blast in northwest Syria

Updated 50 min 15 sec ago

Several killed in blast in northwest Syria

  • It was not clear if the cause of the blast near the market in the town of Jisr Al-Shughur was a car bomb, or a vehicle carrying explosives
  • All except one were civillians

BEIRUT: Fifteen people, all but two civilians, were killed in an explosion in the jihadist-held region of Idlib in northwest Syria on Wednesday, a war monitor said.
The cause of the blast in the town of Jisr Al-Shughur was not immediately clear, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“The explosion hit next to the market,” killing 13 civilians, including the daughter of a foreign fighter, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
“It is not known until now whether it was a car bomb, or the explosion of a car carrying explosives,” he added.
The Idlib region is under administrative control of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
But the Turkestan Islamic Party, a group of foreign jihadists from the ethnic Uighur Muslim minority, also has a large presence in Jisr Al-Shughur.
The Islamic State jihadist group has sleeper cells in the wider Idlib region.
Idlib has since September been protected from a massive regime offensive by a fragile cease-fire deal signed by Damascus ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.
But the region of some three million people has come under increasing bombardment since HTS took full control of it in January.
On Tuesday, regime shelling killed seven civilians, including four children, in the town of Khan Sheikhun.
Increased regime shelling on Khan Sheikhun has sparked one of the largest waves of displacement since the September deal.
Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since the conflict began with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011.