Dubai: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai, Tuesday launched 'Madrasa' - www.madrasa.org, an educational platform for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Dubbed as the biggest e-learning platform, Madrasa provides 5,000 free Arabised videos in General Science, Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Over 50 million Arab students across the world will now be able to these subjects for free, Khaleej Times reported.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Arabic e-Learning Project, considered the biggest in the Arab World, is the first outcome of the Translation Challenge that was announced last year, 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.
During the launch ceremony, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) also announced the 1000x1000 competition, which will give students the opportunity to win $1,000 by answering one question a day for 1,000 days. The competition will give away $1 million worth of awards.
Over the past year, over 52,000 volunteering teachers, engineers, researchers, university students, government employees, technicians and graphic designers across the Arab World applied to contribute to the platform in fields of translation, voiceover and video production, and publication.
Addressing a crowd of delegates, ministers, students and volunteers during the ceremony at Madinat Jumeirah, Sheikh Mohammed said, "I said last year that our first priority is education, second priority is education and third priority is education. I would like to tell you that [this platform] is just the beginning. Our journey will continue."
The e-learning platform aims to bridge the knowledge gap in the Arab World and reignite the civilization's glory and development in math and science. Last year, Sheikh Mohammed affirmed that high quality education in science and math is integral to rebooting any civilization's development.
"The project contributes to improving the quality of education in the Arab world, and I call on all those who have the ability to do so to launch similar initiatives", he added.
"My message to Arab students is: Education is your future and your weapon to navigate life", he said.
Students will be able to access the platform on their computers or mobile phones. They can download the App - link on website- that is available on Andriod and iOS.
Sara Al Nuaimi, Project Manager at MBRGI, said the platform addresses the lack of educational material available in Arabic.
"Students and teachers across the Arab World often found educational content in English, among other languages. The best way to motivate children to learn difficult subjects like science and math is through engaging audiovisual content that will simplify their educational process," said Al Nuaimi.
The foundation received an overwhelming 52,000 applications from volunteers, among which 300 were selected after a number of assessments to translate, design, edit and add voiceovers to videos. Al Nuaimi said volunteers were selected based on their language capabilities and clarity of voice among other criteria.
The 5,000 videos were translated from a library of materials developed by Khan Academy, a non-profit educational institute that provides online educational videos in various curricula.
Al Nuaimi confirmed that the portal will be frequently updated throughout the year. In the future, the platform will see new educational courses on subjects including Arabic language, computer science, engineering, programming, artificial intelligence, and space science.
"The 5,000 videos is just the beginning. We aim to expand the portal and provide more content to make it the top digital education reference for students in the Arab World," she said.
Sheikh Mohammed had personally overseen the overall progress of the challenge, including video selection, content translation and voiceovers for the videos. He even lent his voice to an educational video, along with his son Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.
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