Dr Amal Al Qubaisi and Dr Ali Al Karni at a ceremony to relaunch the Iftah Ya Simsim muppets. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The relaunched Iftah Ya Simsim will tackle other issues faced by Arab children in keeping with the fundamental principles and traditions of the region, officials in the capital said.

With a keen focus on Arabic language, mathematics and other subjects that are relevant and pertinent to the Arab children of today, the relaunched television show will begin broadcasting its first episode on September 4 and 5 on 10 different television channels.

The Arabic version of Sesame Street was kicked off in 1979 and underwent an almost 25-year hiatus after the production studio of the show in Kuwait was destroyed during the Gulf War.

“During a time witnessing a scarcity in educational television shows for youngsters, we are in dire need of shows to fill the gap we currently face in this arena as it results in our children resorting to alternative methods for education and entertainment. This can prove harmful to them in the long run as it may expose them to violence and other negative ideals, as opposed to Iftah Ya Simsim which is sure to reinforce the same principles they learn at school and home,” Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), said during the commencement.

Meanwhile, Dr Ali Al Karni, director-general of the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States, who initially brought the relaunch to life, revealed that designing the ‘blueprints’ of the curriculum on which the show is based was done with the assistance of 100 experts in different fields related to child education and development.

“It took us two years to put the curriculum in place. Additionally, the programme will deal with topics such as technology and the proper way to handle it and Iftah Ya Simsim will not just be a television show but a comprehensive learning experience as content will be available on social media as well,” Dr Ali told Gulf News.

Echoing Dr Ali’s comments, and given the many changes that this part of the world has witnessed, Steve Youngwood, CEO of Sesame Workshop, said that there is a need to have the media assist in instilling the fundamentals of the Arabic language in the younger generation.

With inputs by Heidi Pullyard, a trainee at Gulf News