The online portal was launched on Tuesday by the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai and unlocks knowledge and information in mathematics and sciences for school pupils.
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The platform aims to remove the barrier that Arab pupils encounter when they search for resources and information predominantly available in English.
“Last year I spoke of education, education and education as a priority. I want to assure you that is is merely the beginning,” Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, told a gathering at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.
Dozens of young pupils and volunteers who helped translate English material into Arabic were part of the audience in a hall which was turned into a classroom setting, featuring individual desks on which school notebooks were placed.
In a mammoth effort, about 11 million words were translated over the past year by 300 volunteers, who transcribed, re-wrote, edited, and provided voice overs for the 5,000 videos in maths, science, physics, chemistry and biology.
The content was obtained from the popular, non-profit Khan Academy that provides online video courses that have been translated into about 30 languages.
The madrasa e-learning platform is part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives announced by the UAE Vice President in September last year to fill the gap in understanding science and mathematics among school children.
Millions are expected to log on to the site with plans to add more subjects.
Small villages not connected to the internet will be reached in future programmes so Arab children in underprivileged communities are not left behind.
“This is an empowerment tool for everybody who has a dream. The language barrier stops many talented people in this region from dreaming and reaching their full potential,” Saeed Mohammed Al Attar, director general of the Office of Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future told The National.
“We may have a great mathematician but if he does not know English, he cannot access material. This will empower people with education by giving them all the material needed to excel in any scientific subject.”
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