Final of the Arab Mobile App Challenge in Doha showcases region’s entrepreneurial talent.

Region’s Tech-Savvy Talent on Show in Qatar
Doha, Qatar, 4th February, 2014: The winners of the 2014 Arab Mobile Learning Challenge (AMAC) have been announced at an event in Doha. The winning team, “Loujie” from the UAE has won US$50,000. The second prize of US$30,000 went to the “Crowd Analyzer” team also from the UAE, and the third prize of US$20,000 has been won by Jordan’s “Markabaty” team.

The competition was open to young people from across five countries in the Middle East and North Africa – the UAE, Jordan, Tunisia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. One team from each of these countries has won an opportunity to compete at the World Mobile Congress, which will take place in Barcelona later this year. These teams included “iCaps” from the UAE, “The Pen” from Jordan, “Grandfit” from Tunisia, “Baharat” from Saudi Arabia and “Eductechno2” from Qatar.

150 teams entered the competition with 15 chosen to compete in the Doha Final. The final teams were judged on the creativity, presentation and innovation of their app, as well as the design of their accompanying business model. Apps needed to be relevant to the hospitality, education, entertainment or employment sectors, nurturing employability skills in entrants relevant to the region’s workplaces. The teams had undergone an intense mentoring programme, led by technical and business experts from across the region.
Pearson is a major sponsor of AMAC. The company’s regional Qualifications Director, Mark Andrews, who was also a judge at the Finals, says he was impressed by the calibre of the finalists, and that many of the apps entered had the potential to go onto to become viable business start-ups.
“Pearson is constantly seeking out the latest, most effective technology that will help our leaners realise their potential, so it is safe to say that we regularly see some of the world’s most dynamic digital innovations. Some of the apps that we have been lucky enough to see through this competition meet an international standard, and we are thrilled to have worked with this group of ambitious, talented and hard-working students”.
AMAC was developed to help address the challenges the Arab World faces in relation to high levels of youth unemployment and underemployment. Entrepreneurship rates of the region’s youth are low by international standards – something that those involved in AMAC hope the Competition will balance out. Mr Andrews says:

“Promoting an entrepreneurial spirit among the region’s burgeoning youth population will have an impact on unemployment rates in MENA, as increased entrepreneurial activity is linked to economic growth and job creation. There is a high degree of digital and technological talent amongst the Arab World’s school leavers and graduates – what is needed are opportunities where this capability can be effectively channelled. The AMAC Competition has provided an excellent forum for ambitious, tech-savvy Arab youth to demonstrate their skill, and we are excited to see what lies ahead for the Competition’s finalists”.

Qatari Students to Benefit from New Learning Resources

Pearson and ScorePlus to provide programmes that will help overcome learning challenges in Qatar
Doha, Qatar, 1st September 2013: Pearson, the world’s largest education company, and StudyPlus, a subsidiary of ScorePlus Middle East, have announced a partnership which will see thousands of school children in Qatar provided with state-of-the-art learning programmes at their newly established Centre at Al Saad Doha.

The programmes cover key areas in Qatar’s mathematics, literacy and English language curricula and have been specially developed to overcome the learning challenges commonly faced by students in these areas.
The programmes include Mathematics Navigator, a highly flexible learning tool designed to overcome misconceptions and fill critical gaps in students’ mathematics knowledge by building students’ conceptual understanding and problem solving skills. Students’ algebra skills will also benefit through the use of Onramp to Algebra, a programme designed to ensure students are adequately prepared for advanced algebra instruction. 
Literacy Navigator will also be implemented under the project to develop Qatari students’ skills in comprehending informational text and to help students navigate the texts found in their content area classes, such as science and social studies.
English language development will be assisted through the implementation of the Language Centralprogramme in schools, targeting a student’s conceptual understanding, academic vocabulary, written and oral language and comprehension skills.
Nigel Kelly, Head of Middle East publishing at Pearson, is convinced that the availability of these programmes in Qatar will help the country’s students achieve their learning potential, and play a key role in realising the Qatari Government’s goal of creating a competitive, knowledge based economy.
“Under the Qatari National Vision 2030, the Qatari Government is seeking to create a diversified economy reliant on a number of sectors other than just the oil and gas industries. In order to achieve this goal, the Government understands that it needs an advanced educational system, and increased participation in the workforce by nationals. The provision of programmes such as the Math and Numeracy Navigator will contribute in a small but significant way to the fulfilment of this ambitious vision”.
Mr HukumatKalwani, Chairman and Managing Director at ScorePlus Middle East believes the two companies are well placed to deliver the new initiative:
“ScorePlushas branches in Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE and has been established in the Middle East for a number of years. We have worked with students and schools across the region, providing internationally acclaimed programmes. These include theEnglish language programme,Inlingua, andthe world famous Princeton Review Test Preparation courses for SAT, TOEFL and IELTS. This experience has given us an insight into the unique learning needs of students in Qatar and the local knowledge necessary to deliver educational programmes that make a real difference to those that undertake them.”
Pearson and ScorePlus hope their partnership will raise the standard of literacy and mathematics in classrooms across Qatar, benefitting those students who are most at risk of falling behind their peers. Mr Kelly says:

“In almost every classroom in the world there are students who struggle to keep pace. By partnering with ScorePlus to deliver these internationally acclaimed educational resources, we can help all students, including those with learning difficulties, to overcome the challenges they face and achieve their best possible results. Pearson firmly believes that every child has the potential to succeed in their education, and the introduction of these programmes into Qatari schools is another way we are making our vision a reality.”

In Doha, Director-General discusses Emergency Education Initiative with HH Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser

They expressed hope that this emergency initiative  will be supported
also by other donors and will be implemented in 2012 – 2015 in order to contribute to the realization of UNESCO’s main strategic objectives. The emergency initiative will support the programme and budget adopted by the 36th General Conference, in particular the reinforcement of leadership for Education for All, through advocacy, partnership and monitoring, with a special emphasis on girls and women. Concerted attention will be placed on the least developed countries, which are furthest away from reaching the Education for All goals.

 It will be further complemented by other global initiatives developed to translate the commitment made by the Heads of States at the 2010 MDG Summit, such as Her Highness’ “Educate-A-Child Initiative.”
 It will have three strategic priorities:
 1) Accelerate progress towards the EFA goals and MDG 2 in selected least developed countries (LDSs) and post conflict and post-disaster countries;
 2) advocate for education as key to sustainable developmennt at the global level; and
3) respond to the current financial shortfall in resources for education, including as regards, official development assistance (ODA), national educational budgets and UNESCO’s core educational budget.
 
The Initiative will focus on improving equitable access to quality basic education and learning opportunities and particular attention will be given to among others improving access to education, especially for marginalized groups, while making it relevant to the labour market.
The Director General Irina Bokova and HH Sheikha Mozah expressed the intention to finalise the programme of work for the implementation of this initiative by the end of February 2012.
The Director General thanked HH for her unwavering support for UNESCO’s core mandate in leading the Global agenda on education.
****