Online education Scott Peterson/Getty Images

Breng het Arabisch onderwijs online

DUBAI – Onderwijs is al lange tijd een grote uitdaging voor de Arabische wereld, met onvoldoende toegang tot scholen van hoge kwaliteit, wat bijdraagt aan een steeds groter tekort aan vaardigheden dat veel jongeren, zelfs afgestudeerden, werkloos en hopeloos achterlaat. In een regio die wordt geplaagd door conflict en wanorde zal het aanpakken van deze problemen niet makkelijk worden. Maar met een gedurfde en innovatieve benadering is het mogelijk.

Er bestaat vanzelfsprekend geen enkele strategie die op zichzelf gegarandeerd alle educatieve uitdagingen van de Arabische wereld tegemoet kan treden. Bij de net opgerichte Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, die beschikt over 1,1 miljard dollar en een mandaat om kansen voor jonge Arabieren te verbreden door ze te voorzien van beurzen, hebben we lang nagedacht over de effectiviteit – en kosteneffectiviteit – van de verschillende mogelijke benaderingen. En één optie steekt met kop en schouders boven de andere uit: online-onderwijs.

De Arabische landen boeken al snelle vooruitgang in het uitbreiden van de toegang tot internet. Er wordt verwacht dat er in 2018 in de Arabische wereld ongeveer 226 miljoen internetgebruikers zullen zijn, wat meer dan 55% van de bevolking is en bijna 7% meer dan het mondiale gemiddelde. Maar de ruime meerderheid van jongeren gebruikt internet voor sociale media, in plaats van economische of educatieve doelen. In deze zin missen ze grote kansen, speciaal gegeven de grote stappen die zijn gemaakt in het verbeteren van de effectiviteit en aantrekkelijkheid van online-onderwijs.

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