The Queen Rania Foundation in Amman, Jordan, has announced a $3 million grant from Google.org to create an online learning platform for open educational resources targeting K-12 students and educators across the Middle East and North Africa.
Announced by Queen Rania Al Abdullah during a one-on-one conversation with Alphabet executive chair Eric Schmidt at Google Zeitgeist in the UK, the project will build on the foundation's existing higher education online learning platform. The new platform will offer sequential learning material and student-centered inquiry-based learning that enables K-12 users to search for concepts or skills without having to enroll in a predefined learning sequence. Recognizing the importance of teachers in the learning process, the platform also will provide resources for use in the classroom. Starting with older grades, the first phase of the implementation will focus on a math curriculum, with other subjects and grades to be added over time. And to ensure equitable access to its offerings, the platform eventually will include offline functionality and support, building on previous work by Google.org and the foundation.
According to the foundation, an estimated thirteen million children in the region, or 40 percent of the school-age population, are missing out on education as a result of conflict and displacement, with, most notably, the Syrian refugee crisis straining existing education systems in countries like Jordan and Lebanon that have taken in large numbers of refugee students.
"I am confident that, with the support of Google.org, we can bring about more equitable access to high-quality education wherever students live and break down the learning barriers facing so many children in the Arab world," said Queen Rania, adding that "the grant will enable us to provide children in Jordan and across the region with learning opportunities that elude them today, and to reimagine education in our region."