Since the 25 January uprising many new initiatives hoping to inform and educate have sprung up in Egypt. In this spirit a number of young Egyptians established the Tahrir Academy, which aims to improve the educational process for students. They hope to make learning easier and more appealing by posting videos on the internet for subjects taught in schools, explaining lessons by using colourful illustrative graphics and designs.
In partnership with Qabila TV, which develops documentaries, films and informative political videos, Tahrir Academy posts videos online covering subjects like Arabic, physics, and astronomy.
The project was launched in January 2012 by Wael Ghoneim and the Academy’s Facebook page has gathered more than 300,000 subscribers in less than 18 months. The Academy’s YouTube channel contains around 138 videos that tackle many subjects for high school and university students, and so far has about 2.6 million views.
Tahrir Academy’s channel displays other informative videos which deal with basic facts and general knowledge. This initiative is associated with the charity foundation Nabadat, which is an NGO that aims to fight poverty and ignorance and increase political awareness through creative contemporary methods.
The Academy produced a number of videos together with the Ministry of Health that provide vital information for citizens about how to prevent dangerous contagious diseases through simple and accessible means.
The slogan of Tahrir Academy, “a revolution over traditional educational means”, is explained in their introductory video clip. The founders state their mission is to create the largest educational video library in Egypt and the Arab world, providing unconventional educational content and tutorials. The initiative is an attempt to liberate the education system in Egypt from its traditional shackles of memorisation and to help develop a new, creative and innovative generation of students.
The Academy is currently working on producing an extended series of short episodes, all less than five minutes long, which explain the basic concepts of economics.
To assure its credibility and to guarantee the quality of the videos, Tahrir Academy has a team of consultants, consisting of university professors, researchers and subject supervisors, including the renowned Egyptian geologist, Farouk El-Baz, who recently joined the team.
The staff of the Academy includes presenters, researchers, script writers, designers, producers and video editors and each episode passes through a process of research, auditing, presenting, and designing before it is shared on the internet.
The idea behind Tahrir Academy is not new, but follows the concept of the Khan Academy, which was established seven years ago by Salman Khan, a Bangladeshi graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School. The Khan Academy proved to be a great success in improving knowledge and education in society.
The Khan Academy owns a library of 3,000 videos, which are available in many languages including English, Greek, and Bulgarian. Khan was the inspiration for the young volunteers of the Tahrir Academy, and they hope that one day Tahrir Academy will be equally influential and significant.