ARC final qualifications begin remotely in record participation of 21 million students
The final round of qualifications to select the Arab Reading Challenge’s national winners from 52 countries have begun.
The qualifications, set to continue for several months, are held virtually this year under specialized committees in the 5th edition that attracted 21 million students and 134,000 supervisors from 96,000 schools.
Egypt led the number of participants with 13.3 million students, followed by Morocco with 1.558 million students, Jordan with 1.5 million students, Sudan with 1.2 million students, Saudi Arabia with one million students, Mauritania with 553,000 students, UAE with 450,000 students, Palestine with 439,000 students, Algeria with 426,000 students, Bahrain with 154,000 students, Kuwait with 85,000 students, Tunisia with 65,000 students, Lebanon with 11,000 students and Oman with 5,000 students.
The ARC’s final round of qualifications has begun in Jordan with over 7,000 participating supervisors from 3,434 schools, followed by Mauritania and the rest of participating Arab countries. Through several elimination stages, students start competing at class level, then school level, proceeding to the level of the educational district, directorate or governorate, leading up to selecting the top 10 students from each country before filtering down the national winners.
HE Dr. Tayseer Al Nuaimi, Jordan’s Minister of Education, said, “The Arab Reading Challenge has officially begun across Jordan, complementing a number of similar local knowledge initiatives that aim to foster the habit of reading among the young generation and boost their language, critical thinking and analysis skills.”
He added that carrying out the challenge remotely this year marks a development in e-learning after proving successful digital implementation.
An educational movement
In Mauritania, Mohamed Malainine Ould Eyih, Minister of Secondary Education and Technical and Vocational Training, said the ARC has been exceptional in empowering students across the Arab world to develop their communication and linguistic skills and reward those who excel in the knowledge field. He noted that the ARC coincides with the Mauritanian government’s strategies to encourage reading and knowledge among youth to lead an overall development.
“The overwhelming participation of students in Mauritania this year reflects the initiative’s significant role in supporting the status of the Arabic language in our schools and educational institutions.”
He noted, “Our educational system seeks to utilize all possible resources to support students’ learning experience and provide them with access to the latest in literature, science and innovation. The Arab Reading Challenge is a tool to encourage our children and young people to read and get a chance to win a contest held on an international level with over 553,000 participations from our educational institutions. The challenge inspires students to broaden their horizons in line with their school learning so they become global citizens with their knowledge.”
ARC participations continue increasing every year from 3.5 million participants in first edition that doubled the following year to 7 million students. The third edition attracted 10.5 million students after extending participations to Arab students living in foreign countries, while the 4th edition drew 13.5 million students from 49 countries. This year’s edition is underway to select the Arab Reading Champion from 20 million participants.
Since its inception, the ARC crowned four winners. Algerian Farah Jalloud was named the Arab Reading Champion in 2016 and Palestinian Afaf Sharif was declared the 2017 Arab Reading Champion. Moroccan Mariam Amjoun won the third edition, while Sudanese Hadeel Anwar grabbed the 4th edition’s win.
To qualify for the challenge, students have to read and summarize 50 books in a variety of fields under the guidance of supervisors and teachers across participating schools.
Muna Al Kindi, Secretary General of the Arab Reading Challenge said, “This year’s edition drew an exceptional 48% increase in participations, as compared to the previous year, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 outbreak. The growth rate in participation from the first edition is 470%, which indicates that the initiative’s massive success in supporting Arabic language learning and encouraging students to read and seek knowledge.”
She added, “When His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Ara Reading Challenge in 2015, the goal was to shape enlightened generations in the Arab world capable of driving development and making a difference in their societies through promoting a habit of learning and reading. This goal is being accomplished with the constant increase in participations year after year and the diligent guidance of supervisors and school heads in an exceptional coordination from educational institutions of participating countries.”
Al Kindi said, “Through the Arab Reading Challenge, we have proved that the UAE’s campaigns and initiatives will not slow down under any circumstances and that our ambitions have no limit. Crises only make us more determined to spread knowledge. Due to the COVID-19 crises, we have placed our focus on benefitting from modern technologies to continue our mission of encouraging students in the Arab world to read.”
She noted, “Our success today presents a message of hope to the Arab world that nothing is impossible and nothing will stop us from boosting our knowledge.”
The ARC, held under the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), aims to instill the culture of reading among the young generation and revive the status of the Arabic language.
Once selected, the Arab Reading Champion takes home Dh500,000 cash prize, and the “Best School” takes away Dh1 million award, while the “Outstanding Supervisor” wins Dh300,000 cash prize. The initiative distributes Dh11 million worth of prizes.