Reading In The Arab World Essays Example
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The problem of illiteracy is one of the most pressing challenges, which the countries of the Middle East face. Economic weakness in most countries of the region doesn’t give an opportunity to make education accessible to all citizens or subjects. However, the illiteracy of millions of people in the Middle East is not only an obstacle to progress, but also a motivating factor for the emergence and growth of radicalism in the region.
The results of studies of international organizations and international expert groups are a striking illustration of the alarming situation in the field of education and enlightenment in the region. According to some experts, in recent years the level of education in the Middle East has reduced, youth ceased to take an interest in education in general and literature in particular. According to the opinion of Mongi Bousnina, Director General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), illiteracy is the main obstacle to social, cultural, economic and political development in the Arab world (Hammoud). Illiteracy rates are much higher in the Arab countries with large populations and relatively high levels of poverty, for example, in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan and Yemen.
According to United Nations Development Programme based on Education Index 2013 Sudan occupied the lowest position among mentioned countries (166) in rating with the rate of 0.306. The highest position is taken by Algeria (93) among specified countries with the rate of 0.643 (United Nations Development Programme).
A different situation is observed in the rich oil-producing countries. For example, the UAE spending on education is in the second place in the federal budget of the country after defense. The law provides with compulsory secondary education of 12 years. All levels of education, including higher education, are free for all citizens. Many citizens of the UAE prefer to receive higher education in the United States, Great Britain and neighboring Arab countries. The UAE occupied 40th position in 2013 by Education Index with the rate of 0.673. However, Brunei has the highest result among all Arabian countries with the rate of 0.692 and 30th position in the rating (United Nations Development Programme).
In general, it is considered that Arab resident spends the average time of six minutes for reading annually compared to six minutes of the American child, who spends this time daily. In Europe and America reading rate reaches 200 hours yearly. Moreover, Arabs frequently read information, which is not educative like some horoscopes, shallow mythical Islamic material related to describing dreams, cuisine, sex and similar information. Thoughtful, severe, and informative Islamic reading is practically missing (Al-Akhbar).
Illiteracy is closely related to other equally important problem in the states of the Middle East region. According to the book of Shawqi Galal, the Egyptian researcher, the Arab countries lag behind Israel in the field of printing. As a confirmation of these words the following statistics was given: according to the number of books published per one million people, the Israelis are offered 100 titles, Arabs – less than one (Galal). Here, however, it is worth adding that the population in the Arab world is approaching 350 million people, while in the Jewish state a little above 8 million people live.
In his book Shawqi Galal, in particular, noted that the Arab reader is not only offered with a wide range of literature to read, but he is also not familiar with the development of world scientific thought in the period of sweeping the world of information globalization. The volume of the transfer of scientific literature produced throughout the Arab world, the author points out, is three times less than the number of scientific papers, translated in Israel. Another comparison in the book is quite interesting. Over the centuries that have passed since the collapse of the last Arab caliphate not more than 10 thousand book titles of non-Arab authors were translated in the Arab region. Israel for the translation of the amount of original publications requires less than 25 years (Galal).
The spread in the Middle East region of personal computers that distracts the younger generation from reading publications in favor of exploring the World Wide Web plays a negative role. In an effort to reverse this trend, the authorities from time to time organize large-scale educational activities aimed at young people to return to libraries and bookstores. In this regard, one of the objectives of the Cairo International Book Fair, the largest in the Middle East, its managers identify not only a presentation of publishers, but also an attempt to instill in the younger generation interested in reading, languages, and high-quality literature (Jacquemond).
One more problem of illiteracy progress is that the Arabian citizens, who can read, generally read materials that strengthen their assurance and forbid others’. It is enough to pay some attention, for example, at social media (Facebook and Twitter predominantly), to expose that the mass of Islamic information is cited by this or that region serves to discover approaches to excommunicate, weaken, or remove challengers (Al-Akhbar).
It is worth mentioning that the higher education of the majority of Arab countries is strongly influenced by the education systems of states – the main economic partners – France and the United States. There is the following distribution of spheres of influence between these states: France – on Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, while the United States – on Gulf States and Lebanon. American University Campuses are opened in Cairo, Beirut, Sharjah. The mutual influence of Arab education systems in countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Palestine and Lebanon is also significant. The Arab countries learn from the Bologna Process and move to the practical use of it in the national systems of higher education.
The increase in literacy level can be made through the participation in different social initiatives organized by the United Nations, for example, Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE). Also countries should create fruitful and close relationships with more literate countries and share experience. In this regard, the partner states are offered an ever-expanding market of specialist training for the needs of the higher categories of the economy of the region. As the EU member states are the most important partner in the development of higher education in the region, along with the United States, which also hold leading positions, Arab states are guided by the further deepening of cooperation in higher education with various foreign partners, primarily with the European Union. Schools and universities should develop special applications or find similar, which will be useful in students’ interest increase to literacy. The role of Internet cannot be ignored; therefore, first of all, educative and special informative resources should be available to all people. Finally, the education system has to be reformed.
“Education Index.” United Nations Development Programme., n. d. Web.
“Lines of the Game: The mass suicide of Sunnis and Shia.” Al-Akhbar. Web.
Galal, Shawqi. Al-Tarjama fi l-‘alam al-‘arabi, al-waqi‘ wa-l-tahaddi, (Translation in the Arab World: Realities and Challenges), Cairo: Supreme Council of Culture, 1999. Print.
Hammoud, Hassan. R. “Illiteracy in the Arab world.” Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006 Literacy for Life. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 2006. Web.
Jacquemond, Richard. “Translation Policies in the Arab World.” The Translator 2009: 1-21. Print.
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