For many years now, parts of Arab world have remained under conflict, resulting in a heavy toll on the educational journey of millions of children. Even today, continued conflicts in Syria and Yemen are forcing closure of hundreds schools, leaving thousands of children without access to formal education.
But thankfully, technology is making a difference. Various online educational forums are helping children and adults alike to seek education within the perimeters of their homes. Now, the ruler of Dubai has initiated an ambitious project that can well become a game changer for online education in the Middle East.
And anyone with command over the Arabic language can become part of the noble cause. The project, launched by Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, envisions a free educational platform for around 50 million students from grade 1 to 12 across the Arab world.
Dubbed the Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project, the project includes a translation challenge that calls upon academics, teachers, researchers, scientists, professionals and video editors to help translate 11 million words of mathematics and science into Arabic for being made available online free of cost.
The subjects of focus include maths, physics, biology, chemistry and general science and the project is stipulated to launch next year. The eLearning Project is part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives’ (MBRGI). The translation challenge sets no bar on participation. The web page sets the criteria as follows:
“Anyone who has experience in: translating from English to Arabic, audio commentary, visual production, graphic design, or social media, or anyone with specialized expertise in Science or Math.”
The eLearning Project is part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives’ (MBRGI) and volunteers can consult the application process on the MBRGI website and register by October 18, 2017.
A majority of videos will be sourced from the Khan Academy, a non-profit online educational institute. Phase one of the project will see the conversion of video content into written text, with the second phase entailing the conversion of the text to Arabic. The translated text will be aligned with Arabic curriculum in the third phase, followed by the production of 5,000 videos – 500 videos a month — in Arabic for being uploaded on the online platform.
Let’s hope the policy makers here in Pakistan get some inspiration from the project.