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Foundational learning outcomes of Arabic speaking children – Piloting a perceptually enhanced curriculum in Egypt

September 22 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

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Hosted by the Education GP and the 1818 Society Education Thematic Group


  • Fatma Abdelkhalek, Assiut University, Egypt, and Southampton University, UK
  • Ray Langsten, American University of Cairo

Discussant: Andreas Blom, Practice Manager, World Bank (HMNED)

Chair: Robin Horn, Chair of the 1818 Society Education Alumni Group


The webinar focuses on a pilot study of innovative curricular mechanisms to improve learning outcomes of students in the Arab world. The Al Qasimi Foundation of Ras al Khaimah, UAE, developed a curriculum for grade 1 that teaches fundamental reading skills based on perceptual learning concepts and oral standards of Arabic grammar. In the pilot study, these were taught in two different sessions. The aim was to speed up reading fluency and automaticity and to generate instant comprehension of standard Arabic. The privately funded pilot was carried out during two summer months in Assiut, Egypt. Students made clear progress in reading and language use. The pilot will be repeated during the summer of 2022. The presentation will discuss the rationale, procedures, and prospects for a broader strategy to improve early grade learning outcomes in the Arab world.

About the Speakers:

Fatma Abdelkhalek is a research fellow at Southampton University for the CHERISH (Couples Health Research and Intervention Studies) Programme in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Commerce, Assiut University, Egypt. She has a PhD from Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Statistics/Mathematics. Her current research focuses on using applied statistics to examine social science issues in Egypt and elsewhere.


Ray Langsten, is with the American University in Cairo.  He has a PhD from the University of Michigan in Sociology/Demography. His current research focuses on education, mainly measurement issues related to the sustainable development goals, as well as a variety of topics dealing with education in Egypt and elsewhere.


About the discussant:

Andreas Blom is a Manager in the World Bank’s Education Global Practice, responsible for the portfolios of 19 countries across the Middle East and North Africa. He leads a team of 30 technical specialists and economists who assist the region’s governments with policy advice, financing and technical assistance to improve education and human development. He is passionate about poverty reduction and improvements of well-being through education.


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September 22
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm