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Dubai: A new online-learning platform will support Arab students that live in remote areas or refugee camps with no internet access.

‘Madrasa’, the Arabic word for school, was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide offline learning services for 1,000 villages.

The platform will provide 5,000 free Arabised videos in science, maths, biology, chemistry and physics to students from kindergarten to Grade 12 through four innovative offline solutions.

“We launched the ‘Madrasa’ e-learning platform to provide 5,000 free Arabised videos in maths and science to students living in 1,000 remote villages without internet access,” said Shaikh Mohammad. “The initiative is the first phase to cover remote areas across the Arab World.

“Education is the biggest hope for the Arab World. Nothing should stop our children from receiving education,” Shaikh Mohammad added.

He emphasised that e-learning bridges the knowledge gap in the Arab World.

“Improving the education system in the Arab World is an urgent priority,” he said. “E-learning is the most effective way to empower Arab students and the ideal solution is to provide them with world-class education wherever they are.

“Madrasa for 1,000 villages is a message of life, determination and better future. There’s only one key to the success of our societies, economies and future: Education,” he added.

Launched under the umbrella of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), the project will reach out to children in remote villages and camps through the Madrasa tablet, a WiFi hotspot device, the Madrasa flash memory (USB) and the Madrasa Smart Bag.

Each of these technologies, which facilitates access to creative educational videos without internet, will be delivered to different camp schools and villages depending on their needs.

Madrasa’s educational content will be available on a tablet with an eight-hour battery life, while the mobile hotspot device will provide WiFi network that allows students in remote schools to connect to the internet. The hotspot device, which extends to 300-meters of coverage and operates on an eight-hour battery life, will also give access to e-books and videos that will be regularly updated.

Some students will receive educational videos on a flash memory (USB) drive that they can connect to a tablet or a computer and learn without internet access. The Madrasa Smart Bag provides a full mobile classroom of 20 tablets, projector, WiFi extender, speakers and a WiFi hotspot device. The classroom provides Madrasa’s content and other educational material in Arabic including e-books and videos.

Shaikh Mohammad first came up with the idea of Madrasa (www.madrasa.org) in October, since then over 1.5 million students have joined the platform, which has generated over four million views in three months. Eventually over 50 million could benefit from the initiative.