UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has inaugurated the Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project, with the launch of The Translation Challenge. The Challenge calls on all Arabs to help translate to Arabic 5,000 videos and 11 million words of world-class maths and science material to be available online free to over 50 million Arab students from kindergarten to grade 12. The content is to be sourced and localised in accordance with the highest international standards and curricula.

At the launch, His Highness said, “Providing high quality education in science and math to all Arab students is integral to rebooting our civilizational development; E-Learning is the fastest way to bridge the educational gap in the Arab world.”

He continued, “We have challenged all Arabs to help translate 11 million words in order to produce 5,000 educational videos in one year; we urge anyone interested to participate in this important ongoing cultural project.”

His Highness elaborated, “Our goal is to provide high standard academic material in science and maths to all Arab students; this project is the first step in a long journey to improve education in the Arab world, and make it accessible to millions of Arab students. Translation is the foundation of a cultural renaissance, and opens the doors to intellectual enlightenment.”  

“The reality of the education system in the Arab world may be disappointing, however today we light a candle of hope. I believe in the unbound potential of Arab students when they have access to the necessary resources, tools and material to excel.” He concluded.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project falls under the umbrella of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI). It is an online initiative that seeks to lay the foundation of a new knowledge base, and to establish the future of science and math excellence among Arab students.

The first of a number of initiatives planned under the Project, The Translation Challenge is a call to action for all Arabs to come together to translate to Arabic 5,000 videos and over 11 million words of educational content in science and math for students from kindergarten to grade 12. The project will offer the material online free to over 55 million Arab students in the hopes of rebooting civilisation in the region, and instilling a curiosity for knowledge in future generations to come.

MBRGI is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the world through humanitarian, development and community work. It includes 33 institutions and initiatives that have implemented over 1400 developmental and humanitarian programmes, which have helped support over 130 million people in 116 countries, in cooperation with more than 280 strategic partners, including government entities, private companies and regional and international organisations.

Backgrounder - The Translation Challenge

The Translation Challenge is the first of a number of initiatives and programmes planned as part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project. It is the first initiative of its kind aiming to Arabise key online resources across the science and maths curricula, in order to provide comprehensive and integrated content that can lead to rebooting civilisational development in the Arab world.

The challenge is a call on the Arab community to help translate 5,000 videos and 11,207,000 words – 500 videos per month and 50,000 minutes of video editing – in order to provide supporting academic material on various topics including physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. The initiative is part of a larger Arabisation plan that is addressing the quality of educational material available to students in Arabic. The educational videos will include tutorials for students from kindergarten to grade 12, in accordance with strict international standards for state-of-the-art criteria.

The Translation Challenge aims to attract thousands of volunteers from various parts of the Arab world to help translate, design and edit the educational videos. Ideal candidates include teachers, professors, researchers, university students, technicians, designers, video editors and more. Registration can be completed at www.almaktouminitiatives.org.

The videos will be sourced from the world-class library of materials developed by the Khan Academy. Founded in 2006, the Khan Academy in a non-profit educational institute that provides acclaimed educational videos online, in various curricula and subjects, to millions of students around the world. In addition to English, the Academy’s content is available in 36 languages including French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Hindi. The Academy’s monthly subscribers include over 40 million students and two million teachers, and it has offered over one billion online classes to students so far around the world. 

The Translation Challenge is an integrated project that will go through several stages, starting with forming a specialised team of educational experts dedicated to selecting the 5,000 videos of science and math content. Another team will be dedicated to organising the volunteers, while another team will head the production of the videos. Ultimately all these teams will work together to upload 5,000 tutorial videos in math, physics, chemistry, biology and more, free of charge, to millions of students on the largest Arab educational platforms, through the Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning project.

In order to ensure accuracy and the highest academic standards, the UAE Ministry of Education, in cooperation with various educational institutions in the UAE, will conduct rigorous reviews of all the videos; a specialised committee of professors, mentors and experts is to be formed in order to achieve this.

The UAE – An Academic Incubator

The Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project and the Translation Challenge are an important part of the UAE’s mission to become an academic incubator for the Arab world, and to support new generations of Arab scientists, researchers and innovators who can set the foundation for the future of the region.

The Translation Challenge, part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project, aims to improve educational content in the Arab world, and to bridge the gap between educational curricula in Arab and developed countries, in order to provide young Arabs with an equal quality of education. 

One of the most important elements of the Translation Challenge is to present science and math material in an appealing and engaging manor that inspires students to study these subjects.

A global study has confirmed that out of every one million Arabs, less than 230 are scientists, versus 5,000 for every one million people who are Japanese and American respectively. According to a report issued by the World Bank in 2015, nearly two million patents have been registered worldwide, but only 17,000 of those were registered in the Arab world, compared to 167,000 in South Korea alone. In addition, only 1% of contributions to the research and development sectors are by Arab scholars, according to a United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Science Report.

Issues within the education system in the Arab world appear to be a major component of the challenge the region faces. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report in 2013, the quality of science and math education at schools in the Arab world received a ranking of 3.9 out of 7, while countries like Singapore received 6.3. In a World Bank statistic published in 2014, 40.3% of Arab high school students were not enrolled in. In the same report, UNESCO published in 2014 that 43% of children in Arab countries do not receive the basic principles of education. Also, illiteracy remains a critical obstacle to the development of the Arab world; almost 54 million Arabs (14% of the population of the Arab world) are illiterate, according to a 2015 report by the Arab League Educational, Culture and Science Organisations (ALESCO).

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Arabic eLearning Project is an important addition to the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives (MBRGI), which focuses on spreading knowledge and education as one of the key pillars to improving life, especially through programmes combating ignorance. MBRGI reported a total expenditure in its 2016 annual report of AED 590 million in total on initiatives dedicated to spreading education and knowledge.

Some of the MBRGI entities working within the education and learning sector include Dubai Cares, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, the Mohammed bin Rashid Library, the Mohammed bin Rashid Knowledge Summit, the Arab Reading Challenge, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award and more.

 

About the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives (MBRGI)

Launched in October 2015, MBRGI gathers together the developmental, humanitarian, charity and community foundations launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, in the last 20 years. The foundation represents His Highness’ vision to serve humanity in all fields.

MBRGI seeks to achieve integration and coordination among the various initiatives, projects and programmes within it, and to unite their goals in order to maximise their impact and support their role in providing humanitarian relief and promoting human development.

MBRGI includes 33 foundations and initiatives which have executed more than 1,400 development programmes, providing support to over 130 million people in 116 countries, in cooperation with more than 280 strategic partners, including government entities, private companies and regional and international organisations.

MBRGI’s work cuts across five pillars: Humanitarian Aid & Relief; Healthcare & Disease Control; Spreading Education & Knowledge; Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Empowering Communities.

 

Source: APCO Worldwide