The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) has received support from the Jack Ma Foundation (JMF) through grants. In the presence of Queen Rania on Monday, the first stage of a three million USD sum was announced by Lead-founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Mr Jack Ma who was visiting Edraak’s new offices in Amman. The money will go to the foundation and the work it does in Jordan. A particular focus will be on Edraak – an Arabic open educational resources through a free online platform – as well as the Queen Rania Teacher Academy (QRTA).
According to Her Majesty’s Press Office, “This step marks the beginning of a fruitful relationship between JMF and QRF and demonstrates both Ma’s and Queen Rania’s passion for education and the mutual belief in the power of innovative methods and new technology to address global educational challenges.”
This grant announcement was a very welcome revelation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as this is a pivotal time in the area due to armed conflict and displacement and the refugee crisis. This, in turn, has led to many children not having access to education with over 15 million unable to attend school.
“Education systems in Arab host countries like Jordan, which has taken in large numbers of refugee students, are currently stretched beyond their limits, compromising the quality of education offered to both local and refugee children,” Queen Rania’s office added in a press release.
The General Secretary of JMF, Xiuhong Yu said at the announcement, “The vision and leadership of the Queen Rania Foundation to improve the quality of education for Jordan and the region through its world-class and innovative programmes is truly inspiring,” she said. “In China, the Jack Ma Foundation is focused on improving the livelihood of rural communities through education, and we look forward to learning from and sharing best practices with the Queen Rania Foundation on headmaster and teacher training.”
Haifa Al-Attia, the CEO of QRF, also took the time to thank JMF for their assistance and contribution saying that the grant would allow the QRF to “continue to not only deliver quality education to young Jordanians, but also to children across the Arab World through our digital platform Edraak.”
Her Majesty Queen Rania and Mr Ma were given a tour of the new offices where they also had the chance to meet a number of engineers from Google, who were on a visit from the U.S. A stop at Edraak’s studio took place, as well. The Queen and Ma also travelled to the King Hussein Business Park; there Ma “joined a group of 20 Jordanian venture capitalists, incubators, and enablers in a closed meeting to discuss the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Jordan. The meeting was followed by an open interactive Q&A session with 60 Jordanian startups and entrepreneurs,” explained the press release.
Ma also took time during his visit to Jordan to stop by the Queen Rania Teachers Academy to learn about the various programmes that have been implemented.