Mobile Miracles - Educational Vision

However, what if, instead of just offering access to information as the MOOCS do - a measurable and individual approach is implemented?  Many concepts and indeed tools that do just that are available globally. More importantly, if mobile operators are incentivised to offer this new type of content driven technology by government, some amazing capacity building programmes could follow. Even better, of course, if the content is specific and localised (we’ll come back to that in a minute).

So, how to go about aligning opportunity to tools and needs?

I believe it is worth looking at something the UK has offered recently. In May 2014 the Government’s Technology Strategy Board launched a competition, inviting entrepreneurs to submit educational technology solutions which were appropriate to any age group – as long as they incentivised learning, provided measurable impact and were financially sustainable (i.e. they had to be profit making). Using Educational Technology to create collaborative platforms between public and private sector players was also considered to be an advantage.

The prize was £80,000 worth of investment for successful entries which would then be supported further from concept to development with a second round of funding. The initial fund made available was £1.1 million. The competition created a forum able to inspire great British ideas, solving local problems, but also with a view to exporting to an international market.

Iraq is a key hub  for Middle Eastern language, culture and history. A competition, designed to unite mobile phone and broadband operators, government reach and educational organisations would be a wonderful way of signalling a commitment to business as usual despite the challenging circumstances. Indeed with a new government just having been sworn in yesterday, wouldn’t an initiative like this be great?

Currently Arabic content only comprises about 3% of overall internet content , indeed the discrepancy between the number of people who speak Arabic and the amount of content available online is so large that it has been flagged up by Google.  This idea therefore has much wider implications, with content generated for example being able to support initiatives directed at social and economic development across the region as well as in Iraq itself.

In our digital age it is worth remembering that although the heart of Iraq is of course physical –the spirit of Iraq can be supported by the internet. Any takers…?

In the meantime, check out some great Arabic content on www.nina-iraq.com (Arabic) , a print and web magazine with a focus of women’s economic empowerment, but also a toolkit for doing good business.


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