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Guest post: The age of FutureLearning in the Middle East and North Africa

Ra’fat Khalaf is Founder of Look in MENA – a website that announces courses, workshops, events and scholarships in the Middle East and North Africa. In this guest post, he describes how the region’s ancient love of linguistics, art and entrepreneurship is manifesting itself in a hunger for free online courses today.

Look in MENA logo

Once upon a time, thousands of years back, many famous civilizations grew and evolved in the MENA region, such as Phoenicians, Sumerians, Egyptians and Canaanites.

Those ancient nations were famous for their love of knowledge and exploration, and the genius of the MENA nations manifested in three main areas:

  • linguistics: the first alphabet was created by the Phoenicians
  • art: they built Pyramids, Byblos, Palmyra and Babel
  • trade and entrepreneurship: through the Mediterranean and the Silk Road.

As time passed by, the genes of linguistics, art and entrepreneurship still existed in the people of MENA. They were obvious in the huge Translation Movement in the ninth century; Islamic architecture and decoration; and the trade networks between the Far East, MENA and Andalusia.

Our interest in linguistics, art and entrepreneurship lives on

The genetic influence of these fields has developed through the years, but in a quick glance, we can see that they are still the top three demanded categories in MENA for learners and knowledge lovers.

We see a demand and desire to learn and invest in new languages; establish small businesses and projects; and understand new techniques and technology in arts such as photography and digital multimedia.

According to our recent research, more people are eager to learn new languages and obtain international certificates such as IELTS and TOEFL. Also numbers are showing that SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and the business incubator industry are developing. In addition, more and more art centres and galleries are opening.

Great steps forward in education

The MENA region has also taken great steps forward in education enrolment, which have improved dramatically in the last 20 years. Statistics have shown that one third of new graduates are now ready for the workplace.

In order to meet the demands of education-seekers, new courses and institutes were opening every day in most of the major educational fields. This solved a problem, but created another one; a haphazard collection of courses that needed some order.

Helping this growing audience find courses

After a comprehensive market study, we came up with an idea – to organize the random supply and present it to the audience in a professional way depending on their needs and behaviour. Yes, we are proud of the ancient nations, but no, we can’t keep presenting data in the “ancient style.”

We launched a network called Look in MENA that presents all announcements of courses, workshops, events and scholarships in the MENA region. We started introducing courses and events in four cities, and presenting scholarships for our audience in MENA, as well as Arabic language speakers worldwide.

Many students, especially fresh graduates, dream of continuing their studies abroad, which requires high qualifications in all aspects. That’s why we focus our website on different training and workshops that improve their skills and experience.

Furthermore, we are keen to keep our audience up-to-date with the newest scholarships available for our region and help them with the process of applying for the suitable scholarship.

Learning remotely and for free

Recently, according to data analysis of our channels, we noticed an interesting number of followers (Arabic and English speakers) who are really interested in learning remotely and for free, and eager to obtain knowledge from trustworthy sources.

In fact that was our motivation to build a strong relationship with a professional partner abroad, who shares the same vision and can provide online learning for people who are looking for a free and easy way to access courses worldwide.

Today, FutureLearn is considered one of the most reliable and professional learning sources globally, and it believes in the right of everyone in the world with internet access to join free, high quality classes.

FutureLearn and Look in MENA are now proud to start spreading knowledge together in MENA, so you can enjoy the benefits of a new generation of learning.

If you’re based in the Middle East or North Africa and want to know more about courses, workshops, events and scholarships in the region, visit Look in MENA now.

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