Post-2014 Brookings study, it has been observed that there is a problem with the curriculum that is too traditional, that is too much based on rote learning, learning things by heart. However, over the last few years, technology is filling the gap where traditional schooling has failed.
It has been estimated that by 2020, there will be 15 million students in the Gulf including those who are out of school as a result of armed conflicts and displacement, and it's pushed the capacity of basic social services such as education to a critical point in many countries.
Over the years armed conflicts in the Middle East have dominated the headlines. However, there are some of the changes that have been happening across the region in terms of edupreneurs building new approaches, tools, and platforms across the learning spectrum.
Modern trends leading to crowd sourcing educators
Crowdsourcing educators are clearly the platform that partnered with Microsoft leverages global market efficiency, creating jobs and empowering students i.e. from facilitating video feedback and lesson plans on languages, math, programming and curriculums for IB, GCSE and SAT, to helping teachers share resources.
Myhrvold, whose first edu venture was IB Smart Economics, a gamified app for high school students with learning disabilities says “We crowdsource teachers, experts, mentors, recent graduates and native speakers, who want to share their knowledge to those who want to learn, from all over the world”
A strong ray of hope for refugee children
With Edraak leading the way in the Middle East in providing free open online courses, the MOOC phenomenon has created excitement for the sector in the past two years translated in Arabic, from universities around the world that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world with an internet connection. As per the initiative of the QRF, it is stated that the platform started four years ago and has over 1.6 million adult learners.
With the support of a $3 million grant from Google, the K-12 Edraak platform, an expansion of its open online courses was launched for children across the region, whether in or out of school, including those in refugee camps and conflict zones. “Tailored to national curricula, we started with the maths curricula for Egypt, Syria, and Jordan but aim to expand to all subjects and more national curricula. Learners have a great opportunity to engage in sequential learning or take a more inquiry-based learning approach through the platform. The needed interfaces and support for teachers and aid workers to work with the learners in classrooms and refugee camps will also be provided.
Nowhere is the need for edtech more pressing than in the Middle East with currently over 700,000 Syrian refugee children out of school in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey,. Finnish-based Funzi, which partnered with Facebook, and Lebanese startup Tabshoura are some of the other edtech startups have been providing digitized education to Syrian refugee children.