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.”


Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

Updated 6 min 54 sec ago

Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

  • The Syrian Observatory reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control
  • The Idlib region is one of the last holdouts of opposition forces

DAMASCUS: Thousands have returned to their hometowns in northwest Syria after military advances by government loyalist against militants and allied rebels, state media said Sunday.
“Thousands of citizens return to their villages and towns of the northern Hama countryside and the southern Idlib countryside,” state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control.
Since August 31, a cease-fire announced by regime backer Russia has largely held in northwestern Syria, though the Observatory has reported sporadic bombardment.
SANA said the returns came amid “government efforts to return the displaced to their towns and villages.”
The Idlib region of around three million people, many of them dispaced by fighting in other areas, is one of the last holdouts of opposition to forces backing Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Moscow announced the cease-fire late last month after four months of deadly violence that displaced 400,000 people, most of whom fled north within the jihadist-run bastion, according to the United Nations.
Regime forces had chipped away at the southern edges of the jihadist-run stronghold throughout August, retaking towns and villages in the north of Hama province and the south of Idlib province.
Syria’s civil war has killed more than 370,000 people since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.
Assad’s regime now controls more than 60 percent of the country after notching up a series of victories against rebels and jihadists with key Russian backing since 2015.
But a large chunk of Idlib, fully administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate since January, as well as a Kurdish-held swathe of the oil-rich northeast, remain beyond its reach.