Dubai: Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives launched Arabic language lessons on its Madrasa e-learning platform to coincide with UN Arabic Language Day on Wednesday, December 18.
Fifty million Arab students from kindergarten to grade 12 will have access to free online Arabic language educational content, which will add up to 1,000 videos by the end of 2020.
The Arabic language lessons, produced in interactive high-tech videos, facilitate learning among students and non-Arabic speakers.
The Madrasa e-learning platform, which exceeded two million subscribers and drew an average of 6,000 new users daily in its first year, will provide Arabic language videos through four phases. Basic Arabic lessons will be provided in the first phase, moving to Arabic educational material for primary school students in the second phase that will produce 25 per cent of the new content. The third phase covers 50 per cent of the content, leading up to the last phase that will see 1,000 Arabic language videos for students from kindergarten to grade 12.
Madrasa currently records an average of 15,000 daily views.
Need for Arabic educational content
Figures show that low presence of Arabic digital content relative to the number of Arabic internet users. According to reports, Arabic was the fourth most used language on the internet after English, Chinese and Spanish. The Arabic language represented 5.2 per cent of the population. Yet, digital Arabic content forms only 0.6 per cent of the internet, ranking the 17th globally.
Dr. Waleed Al Ali, director of the Madrasa e-learning platform, said, “Arabic language lessons are a valuable addition to over 5,000 educational videos in math and science to students across all school grades.” He added that the new content reflects the progress of the Madrasa e-learning platform from providing Arabised lessons to creating original content. Madrasa was the outcome of the Translation Challenge that produced 5,000 videos and translated 11 million words of educational content in math and science. “Now, we have created modern and innovative content with our mother tongue,” he referred to the 1,000 Arabic videos scheduled to go live next year.
What is Madrasa?
Madrasa (www.madrassa.org) was launched in 2018 by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide 5,000 free Arabised videos in general science, maths, biology, chemistry and physics to 50 million students from kindergarten to grade 12. The content was produced in coordination with a committee of specialised academic experts, teacherss and professors from Zayed University and the Ministry of Education.
Only 10 per cent of academic publications printed in Arabic
And only 60 per cent of Arab researchers choose to publish their study in other languages
Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development announced the preliminary results of the ‘Status Report and the Future of the Arabic Language’ on Wednesday, on the occasion of UN Arabic Language Day (December 18).
The ministry formed a team of researchers and experts from various Arab universities in charge of compiling and analysing the research and data across the 10 sections of the report.
Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, said: “The findings show a need for adapting national tactics and policies relating to the Arabic language alongside technological and communication advancements. The UAE’s leadership is working towards plans in place for research and initiatives that will improve the usage and awareness of the Arabic language across education and communications.”
What the report shows
According to the research, only 10 per cent of academic publications under scientific disciplines are published in the Arabic language across the Arab world. This output is not proportional to the number of graduate researchers specialising in these disciplines.
Also, over 60 per cent of Arab researchers choose to publish their studies in foreign languages in Western journals to ensure that their content is getting a wider circulation and reaching students globally.
Despite their ability to publish in Arabic, 83 per cent of researchers in sciences in particular also prefer not to publish in Arabic due to the lack of existing material to build on.
However, the preliminary results also indicated a growing interest in the Arabic language across America, Asia and Europe.
Several factors have been identified as contributors to this, including political developments in the Middle East region over the past two decades.