Mon 20-02-2017 19:01 PM

Lughati strives to build knowledge-based society through Smart Arabic Learning

SHARJAH, 20th February, 2017 (WAM)--A first-of-its-kind initiative in the Arab world, Lughati, is striving to build a knowledge-based society through pioneering the learning of Arabic the smart way.

Launched following the directives of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, the scheme aims to enrich the Arabic language education using interactive technology and to encourage students to incorporate it into their daily lives.

Lughati forms a central component of the Ruler of Sharjah's objectives to develop the education sector in the Emirate of Sharjah and to preserve the Arabic language by incorporating modern methods into the learning process. Ultimately, it aims to make learning Arabic easier and more accessible for young people, and endear it to them as their mother tongue.

Lughati’s main activities involve the distribution of smart tablets to 25,000 students and 1,000 teachers in 80 kindergartens and schools up to the fifth grade in Sharjah. The distributed devices feature innovative programmes such as the ‘Horouf’ application, an interactive Arabic learning tool that was developed by Horouf - a subsidiary of Kalimat Group.

The initiative also organises training programmes for faculty members on how to use the smart tablets and incorporate them into the learning process, as well as participates in cultural, educational and social activities in the emirate.

Badria Al Ali, Manager of Lughati initiative, said, "In line with the vision of Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi, we have set an integrated strategic plan through which we seek to reach our goals. The distribution of smart tablets is being spread across six phases, two of which have already been implemented. In the first phase, we delivered tablets to 5,060 students and 232 teachers in kindergartens in Sharjah at a cost of AED 17 million. In the second phase implemented at a cost of AED 15.5 million, we distributed tablets to 2,977 first grade students and 129 teachers in 49 schools."

Al Ali noted, "Following the completion of the first two phases, the Lughati team paid field visits to kindergartens and schools covered by the initiative in order to conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify the benefits availed by students and teachers who were provided with the tablets and to ensure the continuity of Lughati initiative. During the visits, we obtained their feedback and opinions which will govern our implementation of the following four phases of the initiative."

As part of its ongoing efforts to promote the use of technology in Arabic learning, Lughati organised a series of training courses in October 2016 targeting first grade Arabic teachers, principals and resource room teachers in the emirate's public schools to train them on how to use and incorporate the tablets in Arabic learning. In order to assess the full impact of the initiative, Lughati signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Sharjah in October 2016, aimed at conducting a research study to measure Lughati’s impact on students who have benefitted from the initiative throughout its first and second phases.

In July and August 2016, Lughati organised its first summer camp, which was held at Sharjah Ladies Club's Collage Centre and the Women's Sport Department (now Women’s Sport Foundation), Sharjah’s Golf and Shooting Club and various Sharjah Children Centres’ branches in Mleiha, Al Raqqa, Kalba, Khorfakkan, Wadi Al Helo and Dibba Al Hisn. The camp saw the participation of 55 students and 25 teachers and featured an array of educational and entertainment activities that incorporated the Horouf application to develop the attendees’ Arabic language skills.

As part of its efforts to introduce children and their families to the services Lughati provides to schools in the emirate, the initiative has participated in several cultural and social events over the past year. In April 2016, it took part in the eighth edition of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, where it launched the first Theatrical Competition for Kindergarten Pupils in Sharjah. The competition - the first-of-its-kind for kindergarten pupils in the theatrical field - was organised in collaboration with the Sharjah Education Council and aimed to enrich children's Arabic vocabulary and linguistic skills. It also aspired to motivate children to use Arabic in their everyday lives as well as to sharpen their creative talents in the performing arts.

Lughati participated in the Reading Carnival held at Khorfakkan Corniche, organised by the Ministry of Education in October 2016 as part of its National Reading Policy initiative. During the event it conducted a variety of workshops and activities for the carnival’s young visitors.

Marking World Teachers' Day, which is celebrated annually on October 5, Lughati organised a special activity in appreciation of teachers' efforts in supporting and developing the education system in Sharjah. It also participated in the 35th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, which saw the launch of the Lughati Cup 2016, a competition aimed at testing the Arabic language skills of primary school students in Sharjah.

In December 2016, Lughati took part in the fifth edition of the Dawahi Festival, which was organised by the emirate’s Department of Suburbs and Villages Affairs. The initiative held story-telling sessions, art and crafts workshops and enabled children visiting the festival to become acquainted with its smart tablets.

The support of Arabic learning in public schools in Sharjah using state-of-the-art technology was officially announced by the Ruler of Sharjah in 2013, with the aim of developing education in the emirate, preserving the Arabic language and endearing Arabic studies to children by incorporating modern methods. After three years of operations the initiative took on a new identity when it was branded ‘Lughati,’ the title approved by Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi in January 2016.

Lughati was conceived to be an educational and scientific response to the requirements for smart learning, with its introduction designed to help build a knowledge-based society through enhancing the delivery of new education.