New Arab Reading Index to fight stereotypes


New Arab Reading Index to fight stereotypes

Dubai - The Arab Reading Index will combine electronic survey tool accessible to the region with field surveys conducted in UAE, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan.


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Mon 19 Sep 2016, 3:34 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Sep 2016, 6:48 PM

As part of the upcoming Knowledge Summit, an Arab Reading Index will be launched to monitor reading practices across the Arab region and help governments fill the gaps on reading habits.
The index, a joint initiative between the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) and the United Nations Development Programme launched in line with Year of Reading 2016, is expected to turn down claims of poor reading habits in the Arab World
 Jamal Bin Huwaireb, managing director of MBRF, questioned results of previous studies that indicated that an Arab individual reads an average of quarter a page per year compared to Western counterparts.
He said, "Such results are disappointing and somewhat unfair to every Arab, especially with UAE's current local and Pan-Arab initiatives including the Year of Reading 2016."
He added that the Arab Reading Challenge, recently launched in the UAE, pushed for millions of books to be read in one year. "We hope to provide scientifically accurate results that will reflect the true reading habits among Arab region, which we expect has largely improved over the years."
Bin Huwaireb's statements came during a press conference that discussed on Monday the agenda of the third edition of Knowledge Summit, which will take place on Dec. 5-7 at Grand Hyatt Dubai under the theme 'Knowledge: Present and Future.'
The Arab Reading Index will combine electronic survey tool accessible to the region with field surveys conducted in UAE, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan.
The survey is expected to reach a sample of at least 20,000 people and will measure reading habits based on three factors: reading level, reading environment and personal habits.
Results will be discussed during the summit, which will explore the current global standing of the Arab region in terms of reading and the extent to which Arab environment is attractive for writers and readers
Khaled Abdel Shafi, director of the regional hub of the UNDP, said the index will encourage cooperation among decision makers and ministers across the Arab World to detect weaknesses and develop strategies to promote the habit of reading
The MBRF and UNDP previously launched the Knowledge Index to monitor the status of knowledge in the Arab world annually.
When asked about its effectiveness, Abdel Shafi said it has been adopted in many universities and scientific conferences across the region
The summit this year will discuss future of sectors deemed vital to development of countries, most notably, reading, among other industries like medicine, technology and education.
High-ranking decision makers, ministers and senior officials are expected to attend. However, no names were announced as yet
As with previous editions, the summit will include Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award and a spectrum of events and workshops, including the University Fair.

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