DUBAI, 12th February 2019 (WAM) – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai met with regional partners of Madrasa.
The meeting held on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai was attended by Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi; Minister of Education Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi; and Minister of State for Public Education Jameela Salem Al Muhairi, along with representatives of Microsoft, LinkedIn, Etisalat, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), UAE Ministry of Education and Teachers Association – UAE.
Lauding public-private partnerships in launching knowledge initiatives, Sheikh Mohammed said, “The investments of international institutions and organizations in knowledge projects is the true meaning of giving and empowering people.”
He added, “The private sector plays a vital role in reinforcing development and helping build prosperous societies,” pointing out that “the Madrasa e-learning platform shapes the future of education, and it is our duty to facilitate the future for students in less fortunate societies.”
Launched under the umbrella of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), Madrasa e-learning platform provides 5,000 free Arabized videos in general science, math, biology, chemistry and physics to support learning for more than 50 million Arab students, from kindergarten to grade 12.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Madrasa and several local and international organisations, to provide digital, technical and content support to the e-learning platform, and to maximize the outreach and benefits of Madrasa’s content to students across the Arab World As a strategic partner, Microsoft, the multinational technology company, will provide innovative content to the platform.
Sayed Hashish, Regional General Manager at Microsoft Gulf, said the initiative is a remarkable example of how learning can be redefined and made accessible to every child.
“Education is critical to the socio-economic development and prosperity of any country. We believe young people should have access to computer science education so they can develop critical, computational-thinking and employability skills to become future-ready. We are honored to be part of this initiative, and look forward to playing our role in upskilling and reskilling today’s learners to achieve more today, and tomorrow.”
Commenting on the partnership, Ali Matar, Head of MEA Emerging Markets at LinkedIn, said: “It is important to equip our future generation with the skills they need to thrive and we are delighted to support the Madrasa initiative to help empower young people through education.”
Abdullah Al Mana, General Manager, Dubai Region at Etisalat, said: “The Madrasa platform will provide thousands of free e-lessons to over 50 million Arabic-speaking students all over the world, and Etisalat’s involvement comes in line with its long-established Corporate Social Responsibly strategy.”
As part of the partnership, UNESCO Library content will be translated into Arabic and made available on Madrasa e-learning platform to promote digital education. As an educational partner, ISESCO will support in content translation and provide experts to publish scientific research on the platform.
Dr. Abdulaziz Altwaijri, Director General of ISESCO, said the new partnership is a building block in joint educational projects that will impact many students.
He added that through the platform, both parties will implement general education polices of ISESCO member states and support young talents. “We aim to focus on teaching Arabic to foreign speakers and supporting translation efforts.” In collaboration with national and regional entities, Altwaijri said the organization will hold forums, meetings and conferences and publish research papers to achieve mutual goals and serve priorities and needs of member states.
He praised Sheikh Mohammed’s continuous “outstanding initiatives that continue to break new grounds in different sectors of life.”
Hegazi Idris Ibrahim, UNESCO’s regional program specialist for basic education and literacy in Arab States, stressed on the need to adapt to modern education tools and redefine the role of teachers and schools in introducing new learning methods.
“UNESCO focuses on equipping students with 21st century skills to help them adapt to a changing world and safeguard them against violence, radicalism and division. We aim to transform education as a human right to a universal common good, which means that roles and responsibilities of educators will need to be redefined,” said Ibrahim.
In this context, he stressed that the partnership between UNESCO and MBRGI is necessary to raise the quality of educational practices inside the classroom. The partnership, alongside initiatives like Arab Reading Challenge, will drive tangible efforts on ground across the Arab World.
MBRGI also reinforced its local partnerships through signing MoU with UAE Ministry of Education, which will add innovative content and academic expertise to the platform.
Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, said the MBRGI initiatives transcended beyond borders to benefit millions of lives. He added, “The ministry will waste no effort in fostering an effective collaboration and implementing goals on real grounds to create a positive impact among communities.”
Al Hammadi said that the ministry will enrich the platform with innovative content to optimize the benefit to children in remote areas.
Teachers Association in UAE will select volunteering educators who will create high quality content for the platform. Sharifa Mousa, chairperson of Teachers Association, said Madrasa shifts the status of education in the Arab World through providing Arabized science videos that empower students, families and teachers. She added that the association’s members including supervisors, academics, researchers and educators will translate and provide Arabic science lessons to support the platform.
“The association will dedicate all its efforts and expertise to support the platform,” said Mousa.
In October 2018, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched Madrasa (www.madrasa.org), the Arab World’s biggest e-learning educational platform that provides 5,000 free Arabized videos in general science, math, biology, chemistry and physics to support learning for more than 50 million Arab students, from kindergarten to grade 12.
Over 1.5 million students used the platform that generated over 4 million views since its launch three months ago. Madrasa uses simple technology to provide free educational content available online and via an app.
Madrasa is the outcome of the Translation Challenge, which was announced in 2017, calling for researchers, and professionals in the Arab World to translate, design and produce 5,000 videos and 11 million words of educational content into Arabic, in one of the Arab World’s biggest volunteering initiatives.