A quality education is one of the most important factors in determining whether people reach their potential. While students in certain parts of the world have almost limitless access to classrooms and supplementary tools that help develop their minds, this is not true for many areas. The Middle East, for example, has historically struggled with a lack of resources in the educational sector. Consequently, a growing number of Middle Eastern students are dramatically underprepared for employment, resulting in a growing number of unemployed Middle Eastern youths.
In recent years, Middle Eastern entrepreneurs have turned their attention towards education in an effort to overcome these challenges. From facilitating learning for toddlers to supporting continuing professional education, these business leaders and their innovative startups are revolutionizing the scope of education across the region.
Here are a few of the top education-focused startups in the Middle East:
1. Teach Me Now
Based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Teach Me Now is one of the area’s most prominent tutoring startups. Through the company’s online portal, students can engage with tutors in a wide array of school subjects, including mathematics, language, and history. Freelance tutors can also sign up with Teach Me Now to share their expertise with those who are eager to learn.
Once online, users connect through the startup’s virtual classrooms, which allow for live video chatting and document sharing during lessons. Teach Me Now concentrates on creating a seamless and personal learning experience for its entire user base. The startup even caters to those who experience reading difficulties, offering a specialized layout to help them learn with ease.
In 2012, entrepreneur Badr Ward founded Lamsa after recognizing a staggering lack of dedicated Arabic educational resources for toddlers and preschoolers. The startup is unique in that it works directly with its target audience in an effort to create the most effective and entertaining educational tools possible. In fact, children play an essential role in developing stories and creating topic-driven content. Through this partnership, Lamsa has been able to release app-based tools that help young children learn everything from counting to colors.
Nafham is a crowdsourced startup based in Egypt that has helped fulfill a regional need for supplemental educational materials. With a name that means “let’s understand,” the company acts as a tutoring source for children in grades K to 12 from across the Middle East. Through Nafham, students can easily access professionally edited educational videos that are classified according to grade level, school semester, and class subject. The free videos, which last between 5 and 20 minutes, help students gain a better understanding of classroom topics both online and via a complementary mobile application.
Alhodhud is Amman, Jordan’s premiere “edutainment” source for early childhood education. Specifically designed for young children in the Middle East, the startup generates content that is fun, interesting, and teaches the basics of reading.
Primarily, Alhodhud offers its programs to local schools, which use interactive boards to facilitate educational games for students. By pairing engaging matching exercises with entertaining sounds, the startup has created a system that helps children learn more effectively than ever before. Since its inception in 2011, Alhodhud has partnered with a number of educational centers, including the Jordan Education Initiative and Asamiah International School.
Though it is based in Jordan, online music school startup i3zif serves audiences both within the Middle Eastern region and across the globe. With a name meaning “play music” in Arabic, the startup teaches students how to play common Middle Eastern instruments, such as the Qanun and Darbuka, or cultivate expertise as a singer or guitar player.
Maintaining a dedication to accessibility, i3zif makes it easy for users to watch video lessons at their own convenience instead of needing to schedule set classes. These videos not only cover all the basics of each instrument, but they also help students learn how to read sheet music and follow common musical rhythms.
Offering web-based tutoring services, Emuallim was the first startup of its kind to focus solely on the needs of students in the Arabic region. Since its founding in 2010, the startup has grown its user base to approximately 9 million individuals. Anyone with an Internet connection may register with Emuallim and connect with certified tutors during one-on-one lessons in either mathematics or English. The company also keeps a record of all lessons so that students may access them again at any time.
Established as an Initiative of the Queen Rania Foundation, Edraak is aimed at positioning the Middle East at the leading edge of education. Not only does the company showcase the work of prominent Arab teachers, but it also serves as a widespread means of sharing instructional resources.
Edraak’s online platform makes it easy for individuals to register and enroll in lessons spanning such areas as health, professional development, English, and computer programming. Throughout each course, students can watch relevant videos and supplement their education with peer discussion. Edraak awards students with a certificate of achievement at the end of each course.