The MBRF launched the challenge on the sidelines of last year’s summit .
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, on Wednesday attended the Knowledge Summit at World Trade Centre in Dubai.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) launched the challenge on the sidelines of last year’s Knowledge Summit attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
On Sunday, the MBRF said that it has short-listed finalists of the first edition of the challenge, taking place on December 5-6 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
According to statistics from the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (Alecso), the illiteracy rate among those aged 15 and over reached 21 per cent in 2018, compared to the global average of 13.6 per cent.
Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO of the MBRF, noted that illiteracy has been exacerbated in the last few years by the tensions and violence plaguing several countries in the region.
Bin Huwaireb added: “The UAE has always been and will always remain a pioneer in launching and implementing grand projects to combat illiteracy.
The challenge complements these efforts and seeks to curb illiteracy, which now affects more than 30 million people under the age of 18 in the Arab world – bringing the illiteracy rate in our region to 17 per cent. This is a significantly high rate, which calls for greater collaboration to find innovative solutions.”
Siham Al Falahi, head of the literacy project, said that the challenge seeks to make up for the traditional education opportunities certain individuals missed out on. “It is an instrument to combat a serious issue plaguing the entire region, in addition to narrowing the gender education gap.”
The Alecso statistics also reveal that illiteracy among Arab males reached 14.6 per cent, while 25.9 per cent of Arab females were illiterate. In 2016, the Arab world was home to nearly 65 million illiterate individuals as a result of early marriages, broken families and divorce, economic hardships, poverty, and unemployment. The rate risks further increase in the light of the deteriorating conditions in certain Arab countries.
How contestants are evaluated
Contestants in the challenge are evaluated based on the number of individuals they were able to educate.
Furthermore, the beneficiary that manages to achieve the most progress over the course of the year will also be eligible for the award.
The Literacy in the Arab World project aspires to help the youth and adults to develop their knowledge and skills, improve their qualifications, enrich and upgrade their social and economic well being.