An education initiative to improve Arab teachers' information and communication technology (ICT) skills and boost interactive learning was unveiled this month (8 April).
The initiative is part of the 'Intel Teach' programme, a global, US$100 million per year initiative focusing on training educators to use technology and integrate computers in the classroom.
The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation signed an agreement with Intel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to train two million teachers from 16 Arab countries by 2011.
Khaled Elamrawi, general manager of Intel Egypt, Levant and North Africa told SciDev.Net, "We train teachers to improve their basic computer skills in word processing, multimedia, and educational online content, to ensure a more interactive learning experience than just lecturing."
More than 400,000 teachers from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia have already graduated from the programme, according to a press release from the foundation.
The programme works by teachers training each other, providing both face-to-face and online instruction. For example, in Egypt, 40 'master' teachers distributed among 26 governorates were trained to coach 1,000 others who will then go on to train other teachers.
The ministry of education in each country nominates teachers to take part in the programme and Intel will provide the curriculum, online tools, compact discs and books, and incentives for participants to complete the training, says Elamrawi.
Ehab El Anany, a high school English teacher from Northern Egypt and graduate of the programme, said in an Intel case study that the experience has profoundly changed his approach to teaching, and his students have used ICTs to gather information for their studies of the water-borne parasite Bilharzia.
El Anany has also encouraged his students — many of whom do not have computers at home — to make use of Internet cafés after school for educational purposes.
Elamrawi adds that Intel intends to use part of its revenue to boost development through education in many countries.
"We intend to maintain our collaboration with ministries of education to come up with useful and practical ways to improve technology and education in the classrooms."