Etisalat has launched a major push into online education to develop hundreds of tutorials on YouTube aimed at alleviating the burden of private tuition.
The partnership with Google and the federal Ministry of Education is aimed at grade 11 and 12 students.
Duroosi, or “my studies” in Arabic, is a YouTube channel with 600 tutorials, covering a variety of subjects, and intended to help families cut back on the high cost of private tuition. The first video posted to the channel is a 25-minute chemistry tutorial. The rest are to be posted throughout the week.
Amal Alkoos, director at Ayaadi Etisalat – the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm – said that according to studies by Etisalat, families are spending 5 to 10 per cent of their income on private tuition. Lessons can range from Dh100-500 an hour depending on the subject, location and time, with prices increasing closer to exam time.
This is the first time that Google, which owns YouTube, has partnered with an education ministry in the region to develop a dedicated channel on YouTube.
The Ministry of Education scanned all the important topics for grades 11 and 12 and brought the material to Etisalat, which produced the YouTube videos in Arabic.
This is Etisalat’s first e-education project and the company is also looking to develop similar tutorials for other age groups.
“Duroosi will revolutionise conventional education tools by providing instant and convenient options of learning. Students with access to technology nowadays want information at their fingertips,” said Saleh Al Abdooli, chief executive of Etisalat UAE. “The project is also unique in that it allowed us to unite government and private players for a cause of national importance.”
A Google executive said Duroosi will be easy to use and should prove popular.
“These things are usually successful, users can access this curriculum from anywhere in the world on any device. You don’t need to wait til you get back home to open the book. You have it in a very interactive format with visual aids and you can go at your own pace and repeat it,” said Mohamad Mourad, managing director of Google Middle East and North Africa. “The unique thing about this programme is it is endorsed by the Ministry of Education, this is only the starting point in bringing more and more [Arabic] content.”
Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qatami, the UAE Minister of Education, said Duroosi points the way ahead.
“Smart education is a key priority for the government and advanced infrastructure will play a critical role in the achievement of this mission. Such strategic partnerships and unique talent development tools are critical for establishing a knowledge-based, sustainable UAE in the near future,” Mr Al Qatami said.
Duroosi is part of Ayaadi Etisalat, which has an annual budget of Dh20m.
“From the beginning when we started CSR, one of the focuses was to integrate technology with education. We studied different issues focusing on youth. One of the challenges facing youth and families is the the growing need for private tuition and the head of the household today is suffering with the payments,” Ms Alkoos said.
Etisalat’s other CSR projects include supplying clean water to villages in Egypt and empowering women and youth in Afghanistan.
The company also announced a new partnership with the software provider SAP to deliver mobile-government solutions to UAE residents.
“Etisalat’s m-Government services will guarantee effectiveness and transparency between government agencies and businesses. Both Etisalat and SAP are working towards eliminating the risks that most new technologies bring to organisations,” said Abdulla Hashim, senior vice president of ICT, Etisalat UAE.