By Fahed Khitan
The statistics and figures for the Arab world in the fields of knowledge, education, and culture show a shameful picture, really. The knowledge gap between us and the world is as large as the largest ocean. In the global indicators, we are at the bottom of the list.
A moment of enlightenment was appropriate to remember the gloomy picture, and I mean the launch of the Edraak platform for education through collective, open sources online courses, known internationally as the “MOOC”.
The Queen Rania Al Abdullah Foundation adopted the smart initiative, and the queen sponsored the inauguration ceremony yesterday.
The Queen gave a moving speech at the ceremony. She told the truth, and did not try beautify the tragic reality. She told the story as it is; a massive nation in the gutter in terms of science and knowledge, and no way ahead for the advancement without a revolution in education that opens up the door for knowledge in front of millions of Arab youth aspiring to a better life and a future they deserve.
Edraak is the first Arab attempt to move from the stage of characterization of the crisis we face to the stage where we encounter it with practical solutions that are directly applicable; it has even been implemented even; more than 35 thousand young Arab youth enrolled in the academic courses offered by the electronic platform Edraak, only within the first week of registration. Youth from all Arab countries raced to book “electronic” seats in the open university, that offers knowledge to anyone who wants.
Edraak provides an opportunity to enroll for free in courses taught at distinguished universities, such as Harvard, California, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Edraak also offers new packages translated into Arabic, also gives the opportunity for Arab experts to develop new courses in Arabic in the fields of science and literature. It also allows the opportunity for Arab university professors to use in teaching courses in English.
The experience of the past few years proved that democracy and underdevelopment do not meet. Without the knowledge of science and keeping pace with the global development, we will not take a single step forward.
Arab youth become innovative only when they migrate seeking knowledge in the West, and every year we lose a lot of them. Why do we not bring knowledge to our students in their home countries, give them the opportunity to acquire knowledge among us, and employ this knowledge to serve our communities and our future generations?
We have a long and arduous road before we catch up with the world. Edraak gives us the opportunity to embark on a journey for knowledge; the secret of happiness and progress all civilizations.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.