The Nafham Project, a new online education platform, is working to improve the Egyptian education system by capitalizing on the power of the internet and modern technology. Created in 2012, Nafham, (meaning “we understand” in Arabic), offers interactive online classes for primary and secondary level students. Students have access to videos, social media websites, and other educational resources that teach Egyptian students curricula approved by the Egyptian Ministry of Education.
Students access the material by logging into nafham.com. The coursework is divided by semesters and the semesters are further divided into two additional parts. Instructors are allowed to post creative educational media that supplements the lessons. Parents can track students’ progress through regular reports. The site fosters student participation and accountability by utilizing social media websites like Facebook.
Nafham is unique because its content – which includes 6,845 videos for 3,000 primary and secondary level lessons – free for students. Its educational videos are between 15 and 20 minutes long. Lessons include a series of corresponding exercises and activities that further engage the students with the coursework. Various groups have had a hand in Nafham’s video production. Some videos are aired on other educational channels while others are created by volunteers and/or even fellow classmates that want to help their peers.
Currently, Egypt’s schools are over capacity. This overflow has taken a toll on the nation and the economy. The Egyptian Information and Decision Support Center reports that classroom size often exceeds 60 students. It “has a negative impact on student achievement and skill development, and at the same time opens the door to dropping out of school,” states Mohammad Habib, a founding member of Nafham. With over 1.1 million students, Egypt’s education system has trouble providing specialized education tailored to individual students’ needs. Additionally, many Egyptian families struggle to afford the US$100 tuition fees and private tutoring costs.
Nafham’s founders, Mohamad Habib, Mustafa Farhat, Hashem Ali, and Ahmad El Alfi, recognized this dilemma and other problems in Egypt’s education system. They decided to take action. Using the internet as the medium for improvement, they created the “learning management platform” in 2012. Some say it is like the Khan Academy of the Middle East.
The site wants to encourage a love of education and help students grasp the learning process in a digital age, while “erasing crippling cultural obstacles to education success that exist in some environments, such as the phenomenon of ostracizing successful students”. Nafham hopes this is only the beginning of success for Egypt’s education system and the rest of the country.
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Written by Melody Chiang