As The National reported, a free online education programme that will be available to millions of pupils in the Arab world was unveiled earlier this week by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai. The initiative will begin with transcribing and translating more than 5,000 educational and instructional videos from English into Arabic, giving pupils and students access to free mother-tongue instruction. It reflects the UAE's commitment to education and its broader understanding that the best and first line of defence against the most complex of problems facing the region is the acquisition of knowledge.
More than that, the virtues of mother-tongue instruction are not only intellectual, but also social and economic. In an era when most instructional material online is accessible to young ones in English, making Arabic educational content available to future generations is of paramount importance, particularly as we live in an era of swift changes and great discoveries.
Over the past decade, several educational and linguistic initiatives have seen the light, establishing the UAE as a global hub for Arabic language and culture. These initiatives include the Arabic Language charter in 2012, the "2016 Year of Reading", the unveiling of the Mohammed bin Rashid Library, that will be digitally linked with libraries around the world and make possible the sharing and retrieval of rare, valuable, and difficult to obtain sources of information.This will ensure the physical and digital preservation and protection of the Arabic language and all this knowledge for future generations. For "the first priority is education, the second priority is education and the third priority is education" as Sheikh Mohammed highlighted.
But that is not all. The recent educational reform puts the spotlight on the important role this sector will play in the future of our country and in that of the region. For there is no better way to fight ignorance, radicalism and violence than through education, knowledge and tolerance.
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