With the launch yesterday of Edraak, a new Arabic MOOC platform, education professionals have made a new stride towards the development of a well-rounded regional online educational system.
Queen Rania of Jordan, whose Foundation for Education and Development initiated the project, was in attendance at the launch. In her remarks, she highlighted some of the challenges faced by the Arab world, including poor quality of education and graduates’ inability to meet the demands of the job market, to the limited number of global scientific publications released and the scarcity of exports in advanced technology as well as the skills gap in the region.
“Edraak will broadcast the best in the Arab world, and it will translate the best internationally,” the Queen expressed hopefully.
Looking back at Edraak manager Nafez Dakkak’s May 2013 Wamda article, the great equalizing potential for MOOCs in the region seem obvious. Dakkak cited the existence of “several classes on technology and entrepreneurship” on major MOOC platforms Udacity, Coursera, and edX, that could help regional entrepreneurs learn about industry best practices as well as how to apply them locally. He also emphasized the opportunity for local entrepreneurs to leverage the potential of a fast growing industry by launching MOOC startups.
Developed based on open-source code from MOOC provider edX technology, a not-for-profit joint venture between Harvard and MIT, Edraak will offer users courses from institutions like Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley at no cost, with the potential to earn certification (an upcoming Wamda profile will explore the specifics of this accreditation).
Further, Edraak will work with faculty members from leading Arab universities and professionals in a number of fields to develop original Arabic courses. Courses on offer at present include Introduction to Computer Science (provided by MITx), Winning Job Search Strategies (provided by Bayt.com), as well as Citizenship in the Arab World, and other more liberal arts-type courses.
edX CEO Anant Agarwal was on hand for the launch, where he lauded high praise on the Edraak initiative: “Today we realize our shared vision to increase access to education for millions of Arabic-speaking students around the globe with Edraak, which will bring the transformational power of education to the Arab world and intellectually hungry youth.”
Check back next week for a full-length profile on Edraak and its plans for regional MOOC domination.