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Queen Rania launches Edraak K-12 online platform

By JT - Sep 18,2018 - Last updated at Sep 18,2018

Her Majesty Queen Rania launches on Monday the Edraak K-12, an expansion of Edraak.org, the leading Arabic Massive Open Online Courses platform for adult learners (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania on Monday launched the Edraak K-12 platform, expressing optimism that it can help address the region’s urgent need for free and accessible quality education materials, based on modern teaching methods in the Arabic language. 

The Edraak K-12 platform, which caters to school-aged children throughout the Arab World, is an expansion of Edraak.org, the leading Arabic Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform for adult learners, a statement from Her Majesty's Office said. 

Held at the Edraak offices in Amman, the launch ceremony was attended by Minister of Education Azmi Mahafza, Minister of ICT Mothanna Gharaibeh, CEO of the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) Bassem Saad and CEO of Edraak Shireen Yacoub.

Addressing local and regional media outlets, Her Majesty said that this gathering is opportune for introducing everyone to the platform’s new content, the technologies behind it, and the next steps in growing it. 

“We started by launching Math materials for grades six to twelve, but we are not stopping here because our students deserve much more than this,” she said, asking everyone to picture how the K-12 platform is likely to revolutionise learning for future generations.  

“Today, the Internet is replete with e-learning resources that students around the world can utilise in conjunction with their core school curricula as means for revision, practice, or learning support. Unfortunately, most of these resources are in English, and hence Jordanian and Arab students are likely to miss out,”’ she added.

Her Majesty explained that this gap constituted the basis for launching Edraak K-12, which aims to provide children, parents, and teachers with educational resources similar to those readily available online in English.  

“Education in Jordan and the region is in need of an overhaul. Reforming education requires focusing on multiple interconnected facets, including infrastructure, teacher training, curricula modernisation, and early childhood education.Initiatives similar to Edraak K-12are also an integral facet to the reform process,” she said. 

She also added that education reform will not happen overnight, nor will it happen within a year or even within five years, but assured everyone that the Internet is the one tool to help achieve this reform more rapidly. 

“I have always said that when it comes to education, patience isn’t really a virtue because taking our time in improving our systems will come at the expense of our children,” she said. 

Highlighting the versatility of the platform, Her Majesty stressed that students have a lot to gain from the platform’s ease of access via phone or tablet, adding that regardless of the time and place, students can repetitively watch compact and comprehensive lessons in line with school curricula and assess their knowledge through exercises on the platform. 

“I urge parents and teachers to introduce their children and students to the world of online learning and encourage them to capitalise on the K-12 platform. After all, it was built for them,” she emphasised. 

Her Majesty also explained how the platform was designed to assist teachers by helping them create virtual classrooms, use content and exercises to plan lessons, and learn more about efficient instruction techniques. She also expanded on the platform’s potential uses for parents, who can leverage it to support and keep track of their children’s learning journey, and reduce their dependence on costly private tutoring. 

“I am positive that the platform will lessen our struggles as parents.All parents must have felt stuck trying to help their children,” Her Majesty added. 

Her Majesty thanked Jordanian telecom companies, who were present at the ceremony, for their faith in the importance of education and their efforts in making the platform accessible to everyone. 

As of next month telecom companies Zain, Orange, and Umniah will make browsing Edraak content in Jordan possible with minimal consumption of Internet bundles on active mobile phone lines for smartphone users. 

Among the firms that were also present was Samsung, which donated 100 tablets to help promote the platform. 

Also speaking at the launch ceremony, Edraak CEO, Yacoub, explained that the platform enhances the informed use of technology and harnesses the potential of OERs by providing a flexible learning tool for school-aged children and those concerned with educational empowerment. She added that in doing so, the platform supplies young generations with the relevant skills to contribute to the prosperity of their societies and countries. 

“We are very proud of this Arab achievement that will support K-12 education in the region. We aspire to have Edraak become a part of every Arab learner’s journey, throughout its various phases. In the coming years, we hope to empower millions in the Arab world through high quality open online and blended education,” Yacoub said.

Edraak K-12 platform was developed as a joint effort between QRF and Google.org — Google’s philanthropic arm, for which Google employees will be providing tech development and product design expertise throughout 2018. 

Currently, the platform is live with mathematics materials for grades six through twelve, while the same materials for grades kindergarten to five will be released later this year. The mathematics curricula alone will include over 1,200 instructional videos and 7,500 exercises that range in difficulty and leverage gamification to infuse fun with learning. 

With support from the Jack Ma Foundation, which pledged 3 million USD to QRF in May of this year, Edraak will develop English language materials for grades seven through twelve by September of 2019. 

Stemming from its mission to provide education for refugee and displaced children who are out of school due to regional conflict, Edraak will build on Google.org and QRF’s partnership to provide them with offline learning resources, and ensure equity in education access for those who only have intermittent Internet access. 

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