Saudi MOOC startup wants to ‘disrupt’ Arab education

While technology has allowed us to do more things and do them better, a gap still remains between the potential of technology and its actual utilization to improve our lives, The Wall Street Journal reports.

This notion was very frustrating to Saudi entrepreneur Fouad Al-Farhan, who decided to do something about it. He reached out to his friend Sami Al-Hussayen and they started Rwaq – an online education platform to provide free academic courses in Arabic covering different fields and specializations.

Rwaq means gallery in Arabic. The name is a nod to the galleries of the major mosques in the Muslim world where students used to gather in circles around teachers to study different sciences. The site was launched last September and currently offers 15 MOOCs – short for Massive Open Online Courses, on topics ranging from religion and psychology to arts and social media.

Mr. Al-Farhan said they have “tens of thousands” of users and are currently in talks with five universities interested in licensing the Rwaq platform to launch their own online education initiatives.

With the Saudi government spending around $50 billion on education annually, Mr. Al-Farhan said the sector is ripe for disruption, as the widespread use of technology is very visible in fields like e-commerce and media in the region but still largely missing from the education sector.

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