Arab Reading Challenge Winner
File pic of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai with the Arab Reading Challenge 2019 winner Hadeel Anwar Al Zubair Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Dubai: Millions of viewers will be able to watch the announcement of the winner of the Arab Reading Challenge in a closing ceremony to be aired live on MBC channel today.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will attend the closing ceremony, which will crown the winner of the fifth edition of the challenge from among five finalists.

The ceremony will be broadcasted on MBC Channel at 8.30pm (UAE time)  today.

Record participants

The challenge’s latest round attracted 21 million participants, the highest ever number in its history, from 52 countries (14 Arab countries and 38 foreign countries with Arab diaspora), compared to 13.5 million participants from 49 countries in the 2019 challenge.

It also drew 120,000 supervisors who helped students improve their reading and summarising skills, compared to 99,000 supervisors in the fourth edition, while 96,000 schools joined this year’s challenge compared to 67,000 schools previously.

The Arab Reading Champion will be selected based on the ability to articulate general knowledge, critical thinking skills, communication and diversity of books selected. The event will also see the announcement of the ‘Outstanding Supervisor’ and ‘Best School’.


The Best School takes away Dh1 million, while the Outstanding Supervisor wins Dh300,000 cash prize. The Arab Reading Champion takes home Dh500,000. The total value of prizes to be distributed will amount to Dh11 million.

The closing ceremony is the final stage of the Arab Reading Challenge, which turned the COVID-19 pandemic into an opportunity to utilise digital solutions to encourage school students to read and summarise books.

The Best School will be selected based on the ability to create a nurturing and supportive environment to encourage students to read and the endeavors taken to cement the habit of reading among students.

The Outstanding Supervisor award will be crowned based on efforts made to support students and guide them to develop critical thinking and communication skills.

Shortlisting participants

Participants were evaluated at class level in countries across the world, then school level, proceeding to the level of the educational district, directorate or governorate, leading up to selecting the top 10 students from each country before filtering down the national winners. Students read and summarised 50 books to qualify for the challenge.

Precautionary measures

Due to the precautionary and preventative measures taken in response to the pandemic, qualifying rounds were conducted virtually, and country-level winners were also announced virtually. The judging panels, made up of educational experts, assessed participants’ expressive skills, dialogue capabilities, their intelligence and depth of knowledge, and their ability to sort their ideas and present them clearly.

Format of the challenge

The Arab Reading Challenge stipulates that each participant shall summarise 50 books in five reading passports (each of which has 10 pages), with each book to be summarised in one page. This year’s digitalisation drive of the challenge saw the adoption of digital summaries, rather than paper.

Organised by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, the challenge creates a knowledge movement that brings together millions of Arab readers from across the world.