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Edraak Makes Education Accessible With Free Arabic Online Courses

21 August, 2016
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If you've ever taken an online course chances are that firstly, you paid for it; and secondly, you did it in English. So for the majority of people without spare cash and a second language, the doors to extra education are closed. Edraak now exists to solve all these problems.

Edraak is the first non-profit Arabic massive open online course (MOOC) platform, offering free online courses in Arabic in many categories including STEM subjects, education and teaching, citizenship, health and much more. They started operations in 2014, and they are an initiative by the Queen Rania Foundation (QRF).

"Based on our research, we found out that more educational options were needed in the Arab world, especially for the Arabic speakers, as only between 1.5-3% of online course content is in Arabic," Eman Zabalawi, marketing officer at Edraak, told BECAUSE.

Edraak is a platform for all Arabic speakers, no matter where they are in the world. "We offer unique and special content. We want to enable the Arab world to tell their stories and indulge in an educational experience at their own convenience," Zabalawi says.

"Our slogan is: knowledge for those who seek it. So our content is open for everyone and we plan on keeping it free, as we don't want to put any restrictions on people who actually want to learn," Zabalawi continues.

Through this, Edraak aims to raise the standards of education, make Arabic courses more available, enrich the educational experience of Arabic speakers, and remove the obstacles of time, place and money from the equation of anyone who wants to learn.

So far 750,000 learners have used Edraak, mostly from Egypt, even though they are based in Jordan.

"We saw that there is a gap in education in the region in general and the that Arabic content offered was very limited," Zabalawi says. Edraak is an NGO, and their main objective is to help as many students as possible and not to let any learner pay for their education. They depend on funds and sponsors.

There is no specific educational background required for people to participate in the courses, so working/stay-at-home moms, students in school/university, people looking for work or simply to learn something new can all find something suitable.

"Right now we have three upcoming courses, and we working on more to be launched in the next weeks, and there are courses open at all times, meaning that people can watch the tutorials at any time of year," says Zabalawi. The courses that have a starting date, have their video tutorials uploaded weekly after the starting date, and students can view them at their convenience (not at a specific time). There is also a discussion board were students can communicate with each other and with professors to discuss any topic.

"The courses are taught by the best Arab professors, developed by QRF and Edraak," Zabalawi says. For excellency, Edraak has a partnership with edX and also receive courses from MIT and Harvard Universities, customizing them to Arabize and localize the content.

When people complete a course they get a certificate issued by Edraak and the content partner, but Edraak is working on getting accreditation from a professional institution to make the courses more viable in the work field.

So far, Edraak has around 40 courses. In the near future, Edraak plans on launching more courses in different categories. "From the first year to the second, our course number doubled," Zabalawi says.

Image courtesy of Edraak.

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