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Non-Arabic Speaking Students Can Learn Arabic for Free on Madrasa e-Learning Platform



Non-Arabic speaking students living in the UAE and across the region can learn the basics of the Arabic language for free on Madrasa e-learning platform amid worldwide school closures due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. Madrasa (, recently recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a powerful digital learning solution to help children across the world continue their education amid recent school closures, started providing interactive Arabic language video lessons in December 2019 alongside more than 5,000 Arabized educational videos in math and science that cater to students from kindergarten to grade 12.

Non-Arabic speaking students can now have access to more than 250 interactive Arabic language lessons available on the e-learning platform that caters to grades 1-4. The high-tech videos offer basic Arabic grammar, writing, reading and listening lessons to facilitate student learning in an engaging and creative manner.

Originally produced in coordination with a committee of specialised academic experts, teachers, and professors from Zayed University and the UAE Ministry of Education, the Arabic educational content developed on Madrasa e-learning platform meets accredited school curricula across the Arab world.

The videos apply modern and innovative technology to create engaging material supported by a story like narration and specially created animated cartoons to promote language use among the young generation. The educational videos, mapped with learning outcomes and equipped with demonstrative examples and exercises, adopt a simple language that allow students to gain a better understanding of the rich Arabic language. Every video is followed by a group of questions to evaluate the student’s understanding of the material.

The online Arabic lessons, produced in collaboration with specialized video editors, producers and voiceover artists, aim to support Arab students and non-Arabic speaking students across different school age groups in mastering different linguistic skills and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the language.

By the end of the year, Madrasa e-learning platform will provide 1,000 Arabic language videos, constituting 800 educational videos year that cover all aspects related to language for students from kindergarten to grade 12, and 200 statically animated stories. The animated stories mainly target kindergarten and primary school students through engaging and creative content.

UNESCO has recognised among the latest global distance learning solutions with a wide reach, strong user-base and evidence of the impact that could help children across the world continue their education amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), Madrasa was listed among the educational platforms that can help teachers, schools and parents facilitate student learning and provide social support and interaction during the period of school closures.

Launched in 2018, Madrasa e-learning platform provides more than 5,000 free Arabized videos in general science, math, biology, chemistry and physics to students from kindergarten to grade 12, alongside the recently-launched online Arabic language lessons.

His Excellency Dr. Hamad Al Hammami, Director of UNESCO’s regional office in Beirut, said the exceptional precautions taken with the worldwide schools and university closures present a unique opportunity to harness digital learning in a rapidly changing educational scene to improve the student experience.

“Digital learning platforms like Madrasa help provide access to quality education based on modern curricula to empower students wherever they are and respond to their different needs across the world. Through harnessing advanced technologies, the digital learning solutions mapped with demonstrative exercises and learning outcomes support students, teachers, and families with free quality education.”   

Al Hammami noted that providing online education meets the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all regardless of circumstances and place.

He pointed to the expansion of self-learning opportunities presented by the rapid advancement of modern technologies that continue to spark knowledge curiosities. “Self-learning has become an integral part of the whole educational system over the past decades, expanding student academic skills and broadening their horizons beyond classrooms.”

He added, “The ongoing collaboration between the UNESCO and pan Arab digital learning platforms can contribute to enriching and increasing quality Arabic educational content on the internet to support school curricula and improve the student learning process through delivering innovative and engaging material.”

Representing Madrasa e-learning platform, MBRGI signed an agreement with the regional office of UNESCO during the World Government Summit that took place in Dubai in February 2019 to enrich the online platform with free high-quality Arabic content accessible to Arab students across the world. The agreement focuses on five main pillars: enhancing the educational content on Madrasa, implementing comprehensive awareness programmes around Madrasa’s content, providing innovative learning solutions to remote villages, allocating tasks and strengthening mutual coordination between UNESCO’s regional office and Madrasa.

The agreement is centered on implementing innovation to develop education across the Arab world and provide the latest technologies to empower different society segments. It also aims to end poverty through education and awareness in response to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

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Canon Partners with the Ministry of Education for Digital Skills Development



Canon Middle East (CME) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Education as the official strategic partner for skills development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The partnership delivers on the ambitions of the UAE’s Vision 2021 to develop the talent of youth in the UAE by empowering them to engage new-age digital innovations and prepare them with the skills required for education and employment opportunities of the future.

Her Excellency Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Care and Activities Sector emphasised that through all of its partnerships, the Ministry of Education seeks to enhance students’ skills across various creative fields, positively impacting their journey in future. To this end, the Ministry focuses to uplift students’ skills and meet their different interests in-line with its goals, academic and skill enhancement plans for the students of the UAE.

Her Excellency also highlighted that the MoU is a result of a long-standing cooperation, as Canon had organised many programmes aiming to enhance students’ skills in photography and digital production and improving their various talents, as the Ministry seeks to promote cooperation with specialised parties in-line with its initiatives for visual arts.

As part of the agreement, Canon hosted a visual photography summer camp this year for 87 students from various schools to further develop their imaging skills and understanding of visual arts. The camp consisted of eight sessions and included video instruction and assignments for each student. The students’ work will be demonstrated through a virtual exhibition in October.

In 2021, Canon will also become the Ministry’s official partner for the National Clubs programme, which is an afterschool digital hub to empower and educate students on various topics including art and culture, health and fitness, STEM, life skills, and linguistics. Visual and creative arts, with an emphasis on photography and videography, are also a key component of the programme, and

Canon will conduct imaging workshops for 100 students aged between 10 and 18 who are interested in photography and filmmaking. The eight-week long course will be delivered online through virtual instruction and training videos and will run across three different levels to cater to the various age groups within the National Clubs programme.

Canon’s imaging workshops fall within Canon’s AKTASHIF programme which is a community-oriented initiative designed to equip young people aged 14 to 24 with the tools and techniques to unleash creative careers. The initiative provides training, mentorship and provides a focal point for “YOUTH” to develop their interests, strengthen their creativity and inculcate in them the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Anurag Agrawal, Managing Director, Canon Middle East and Canon Turkey, said, “Our collaboration with the Ministry spans a number of years and this agreement will build on the work we have done together to spark innovation and inspire students. Youth today are at a major crossroads as their educational and self-development journey is rapidly unravelling and evolving; but they are also increasingly adaptable, eager to get past hurdles, and are innovative in their approach to learning new skills. Through our workshops students will be mentored and trained using new digital technology that is essential for their education today and will prepare them for their professional careers in the future.”

“The  partnership also underlines our commitment to our corporate philosophy, ‘Kyosei,’ meaning living and working together for the common good, and education is one of our key focus areas as an innovation-led, technology company, where we feel we can make a positive difference,” added Agrawal.

The Ministry of Education and Canon have collaborated on a series of successful initiatives which led to the signing of the partnership agreement this year. The initiatives included supporting the Ministry’s Masterpieces programme by providing photography courses, equipment and giveaways for the programme’s winners, and printing the winning imagery to be displayed at the La Perle show.

Last year, Canon launched a competition on Women’s Day within UAE public schools where four female students won pink Selfy printers and a photography master class with a Canon Ambassador. Canon also sponsored the National Science and Technology and Innovation Fair hosted by the Ministry.

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SPL Launches ‘Smart Locker’ Service to Give Members Round-the-Clock Access to Books



The Sharjah Public Library (SPL), an affiliate of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), has launched the ‘Smart Locker’ service that facilitates the 24/7 borrowing of books via the SPL website. The books ordered through the Smart Locker will be reserved for three days and can be collected any time during this period.

Eman Bushulaibi, Director of SPL

This new system is part of the integrated smart services launched by SPL and caters especially to the needs of members who are unable to visit during the opening hours of the library.

The Smart Locker service uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that allows members to use their Emirates ID or SPL’s membership cards to collect and return books. SPL’s Smart Locker consists of 38 lockers equipped with a touch screen that are connected to SPL’s digital network and CCTVs.

Commenting on the launch of the new service, Eman Bushulaibi, Director of SPL, said: “The Sharjah Public Library is a keen adopter of innovative technologies, which enables us to continually improve its patrons’ user experience. Our Smart Locker service will offer its users an advanced personalised service, allowing members to engage with SPL’s array of offerings in new and improved ways.”

She added: “Globally, cultural entities are devising inventive ways to keep the public engaged with the written word, especially during the ongoing pandemic. With the Smart Locker service, our members can order and pick up books at their convenience in a contactless manner. This new feature furthers the library’s efforts to implement precautionary measures that will keep all our valued customers safe.”

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New ADEK Activity Platform Launched to Allow Kids to Explore, Learn, and Innovate



With schools out for summer, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) is urging students to #NeverStopLearning with a new Activity Platform. Serving as the go-to resource for entertainment and extra-curricular activities in the Emirate, the platform has been developed as a new digital playground as parents seek innovative ways to keep their children entertained this summer and beyond. 

Taking into account the needs of children of all ages, ADEK has teamed up with some of the UAE’s leading edutainment vendors to create a platform packed full of enrichment programs, competitions, edutainment exercises, academic support, and physical and wellbeing challenges across four learning pillars: STEM and Innovation; Enrichment; Arts, Culture & Languages; and Physical Education and Wellbeing.

“Student wellbeing and engagement are at the core of our efforts at ADEK. With the current situation fuelling our commitment to ensure there are constant avenues of engagement for everybody within the Abu Dhabi education community, the Activity Platform has been designed as a one-stop resource for students to continue learning, innovating and staying active,” said H.E. Amer Al Hammadi, Undersecretary of Undersecretary of the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).

“The options available are fun and engaging, taking students away from pure academics and filling their time with meaningful activities. There are also ample opportunities for students to connect with their peers in a number of the challenges requiring team collaboration.”

In line with ADEK’s mission to help shape a future-ready workforce through education, the STEM & Innovation stream on the Activity Platform is full of experiences for 21st century learners. Whether embarking on a journey through coding by learning the basics, taking their interest in robotics to the next level through a series of challenges, or seeking safe and fun science and engineering experiments at home, the STEM & Innovation pillar encourages critical thinking in fun ways.

Arts, Language and Culture are embraced with access to some of the capital’s most iconic attractions. Experiences are augmented with hands-on creative activities which add three-dimensional learning to a digital discovery. Children can take time-out to read, reflect and explore ideas in more depth, with access to extensive digital libraries and storytelling experiences. Additionally, language skills can be honed with a range of courses for native and non-native English and Arabic speakers. The Arts, Language and Culture stream also includes music tutorials and poetry.

The platform also caters to students plotting their first steps towards higher education, with a range of webinars and university prep talks ensuring they are ready for the big leap into university. There is also a generous offering of admission preparation courses, including IELTS to SATS revisions, specialist subject tutoring and couching sessions for candidate interviews. Younger students can revise or refresh core subjects ensuring they are prepped for the coming academic year.

For energetic students eager to keep moving, the platform’s Physical Education and Wellbeing stream features a whole host of challenges, from sports contests, to cooking competitions and physical activities children can do around the home or garden.

To register for the Activity Platform, visit

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