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Dream TV Al Ashera Masa’a
Aired July, 2005

 

Mustafa Majzub was featured as a guest on Dream TV’s new programme, “Al Ashera Masa’a”


Abdallah Scheifer's open letter to President Sisi

Dear Sisi, it is time to talk illiteracy
Friday, 19 December 2014

Abdallah Schleifer

Abdallah Schleifer

Mr. President,

I know that you and other Arab leaders like yourself are committed to a struggle against terrorism; and against the extremist groups engaged in this terrorism in the name of religion that they have perverted in order to justify their atrocities.


You must be deeply disturbed that thousands, perhaps by now tens of thousands, of marginalized young Muslims have left their homes in the Arab and Muslim world, in Europe, the UK and even America to join ISIS and its affiliates, looking for a cause that transcends their condition and provides meaning to their lives.
There are many forms of marginality and that includes the condition of tens of thousands of young graduates of Egyptian universities who cannot find jobs here or abroad. Your major public works projects –the 2nd Suez Canal and the Million Affordable Homes – will generate work for unemployed construction workers, electricians, house painters and plumbers, but not for the vast ranks of unemployed university graduates.

Adult illiteracy
So consider this – adult illiteracy remains well over 20 percent of the population in Egypt and it is one of the worst scourges that undermines morale, development and the ability to respond to innovation. It breeds indifference. Illiteracy not only ranks alongside corruption as one of the two worst scourges of Egyptian society but it is intimately connected to corruption.

" Literacy campaigns having even regressed since the beginning of the 20 century "
Abdallah Schleifer

Billions of Egyptian Pounds have been spent by a various administrations in government programs over the decades yet illiteracy has never been eradicated and even using self-serving official statistics, it has barely kept pace with the natural growth of the population.
Literacy campaigns having even regressed since the beginning of the 20 century, when the eradication of illiteracy was seen as a great moral cause to redeem the nation. So it would be seen today if you, as president issue a call to the educated youth to come to the aid of their nation, to enroll it a genuine revolutionary cause and to enlist in the Literacy Youth Brigades.
Pay will be at a subsistence level for a single person at 600 Egyptian Pounds (EGP) per graduate. And at the end of their two year enrollment they will also have acquired the experience of professional work, and for some a desire to take up teaching in the many schools that you, Mr. President, are planning to build or restore throughout the country.

Proven educational technology
The brigades would employ a proven educational technology known as the Abjad Adult Education System developed over a decade by a British Muslim graduate from Oxford University who lived in Egypt for many years.
This system would best be administered by an independent commission headed by a non- governmental figure dedicated to community service with a proven track record, known to you and trusted by you. Be they civilian or military, such people do exist in this great country and from their ranks you would select the director.
The Abjad System was tested in 2011 with the support of Sheikh Ali Goumaa’s Masr el-Khair charitable foundation – with 6,000 illiterate adults taught at night in schools and other community centers equipped with only a computer per class and a minimum set of teaching materials for each student. So the centers for this adult education already exist – in schools, and, if necessary, other community centers
The computer is essential for two reasons; the computer runs the Abjad System’s CD Rom program which provides direction for both students and teacher in using the system which is based on each student using an Abjad kit consisting of all the individual letters of the Arabic alphabet that can form every combination for any word, assembled and re-assembled over and over again. This way the adult student is not memorizing words to pass a test and secure a certificate – he is producing words and learns how to read and write in the process. As for the kit, it can be used over and over again.

Essential for the high morale>

The computer is also essential for the high morale that motivated the adults who enrolled in the testing of the Abjad System because they realized for themselves on the very first day - and could tell friends and family after that very first day - that they were learning how to use a computer. Learning how to use a computer is far more morale- boosting than for an adult to admit he is learning how to read and write. And this also hold out the realistic prospect that the student will not just qualify for a certificate of literacy but actually continue on his own to read, to write and if available, which is increasingly the case, be able to use a low-cost computer for its most basic functions of reading and writing.
There are an estimated minimum of 17 million adult illiterates in Egypt. The mission of the Literacy Youth Brigades is to eliminate illiteracy in two years. Based on proven results -- when administered without the usual bureaucratic sabotage of non-governmental or private sector programs, the success rate for the tests of adults in Misr el-Kheir funded Abjad system was a stunning 90 percent.
59,000 university educated youth enlisted in the Youth Brigades can all be trained over staggered two day periods by 500 experienced kindergarten teachers, who already received training in the 2011 Misr el-Kheir funded test. That means all 59,000 could receive this training in a period running from only 30 to 45 days. They will then be assigned to 59,000 existing classrooms with at least one computer per classroom.
Your appeal, Mr. President to the patriotic instincts of unemployed or barely employed university educated youth to enlist in the Youth Brigades for two years of service in a war against illiteracy can be a turning point, both in the immediate need to undermine the appeal of extremism and the long term development of Egypt.


Misr ElKheir Adult Education Initiative

Abjad provided their modified Adult Education system – Light Your Way - to the Abjad World Foundation, a non-profit organization providing educational services to the Egyptian community, and which had recently been awarded 400 adult education classes in the governorates of Minya, Cairo Giza, and Qalyubiya as part of the Misr ElKheir Adult Education Initiative. Results for phase 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this initiative have shown results of 87% passing rate. Final results for 1500 students tested independently by the Bureau for Adult Education in December 2012 showed results of 90%.


Unlocking ARABIC

AUC TODAY 2009

Majzub is a graduate of AUC’s Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) and the Arabic Language Institute (ALI). His work began shortly after finishing ALI in the late 1980s.Together with his former Arabic tutor at Oxford University, Majzub wrote a story to help children overcome the main problems associated with learning the Arabic alphabet.The story was produced as a children’s play at London’s King Fahad Academy in 1990, and after several revisions, the story was titled The Prince of the Letters (Amir Al-Huruf), an illustrated picture book.

Unlocking ARABIC


Early Childhood Education Enhancement Project (ECEEP)

Abjad was awarded the winning bid for public tender no. 1 and 9 for the Early Childhood Educational Enhancement Program (ECEEP). This tender was designed for the provision of educational materials to the kindergarten departments in 1325 public primary schools in Egypt nationwide. Although mainly focusing on wooden puzzles – which were specially designed for this tender, Abjad was also able to provide the patented plastic transforming letters to these schools in addition to Abjad’s full range of audio CD’s.


One World Project for Resource Rooms

In cooperation with the World Bank, the Ministry of Education released a closed tender for the design and execution of 20 Resource Rooms – 10 in the Sohag Governorate and 10 in the Greater Cairo Area. These Resource Rooms give children with learning difficulties and disabilities the opportunity to continue their education in Mainstream schools (children with an IQ of over 52) and yet have access to a facility within which their particular disability is addressed during normal school hours. Abjad was awarded this tender and was given the opportunity to design these rooms, supply all the required educational systems and programs as well as train the specialists assigned to these rooms.


Light Your Way

2008 marked the pilot of Abjad’s Adult Education and Illiteracy Eradication program “Light Your Way.” Over 60 students and 20 teachers were interviewed and it became apparent that the National Bureau for Adult Education suffered from three main obstacles – Classes were not attracting enough students (only 1 million out of 15 million Egyptian illiterates applied), only 800,000 remained in class for the duration of the 9 month course and sat for the final exam, and of those only 400,000 passed. Abjad designed a pilot program and set up four classes in the districts of Maadi, Tura, Dar Al Salam and Basateen. These areas were chosen since each had its own particular characteristics. Attraction to these classes was extremely high as Abjad provided a separate center for students to bring their children with them and provided well-lit and aired classrooms with a computer, all students remained till the end of the course, and 39 out of 40 students passed. The 40th student, who sat for the exam at a later date, also passed. Results of these pilot classes were carefully analyzed and the program modified. One of the major changes was to add an additional two phases to the program to encompass basic grammar and composition/comprehension passages – a major stumbling block for most students. The course was also condensed into a 6-month time format and classes were expanded to cater for 15 students rather than ten.


Biblioteque

Abjad has been recognized both as a publisher and as a children’s book author with the Egyptian Ministry of Education’s Biblioteque – the “Bible” for all Egyptian schools both public and private since by law, schools cannot acquire any publications which have not been recognized and listed.


Adopt-A-School

In an attempt to give back to society, Abjad donated its entire marketing budget in 2008 to the Adopt-A-School initiative. This initiative targeted 7 public schools in the districts of Maadi, Tura, Dar Al Salam and Basateen. Although the initial plan was to provide these schools with educational materials, Abjad soon shifted its focus towards providing both the students and teachers a more humane environment to work in if the educational process was to become even slightly effective. Most classrooms were packed with a minimum of 60 and in some cases 128 students. Many students had no desks and those that did had to endure sitting on splintered wooden planks. Teachers had no desks or chairs in the classroom, and no lounge forcing them to correct papers and plan their classes in the playground, a 200 square meter area of sand. Only two bathrooms with 10 “toilets” were available to over 2400 students- none of which had running water. Teachers had no bathroom to speak of. During summer break Abjad built new bathrooms, fixed all the plumbing issues, provided new desks, installed ceiling fans, re-wired the entire electrical circuits, built a teachers lounge and gave these schools a much needed face-lift in the form of a fresh coat of paint.


Demining of the North-West Egyptian Coastline

Abjad was asked to produce a short documentary to raise awareness amongst schoolchildren in regards to the importance of demining the North-West Coastline as part of the national campaign conducted by the Ministry of International Cooperation in tandem with the UNDP.


Persian British Muslim Invents (NISF EL-DONYA)

Persian British Muslim Invents a "New" Alphabet :
The "Abjad" Project - an Attempt to Restore the Lost Amicability between Children and the Language.

Arabic, the language of the Qur'an and our ancient brilliant culture has become (Aziz Qawmin Zal) – its deterioration at the hands of the “new generation” has taken it to a point where it has no dignity even in its own home. Our beautiful language has become difficult after it was once easy and the famous and simple approach used by Arabic teachers of "paper, pencil and sharpener…now concentrate with me." is no longer enough to rescue it. The danger threatening the "Arab tongue" is serious and any steps towards rescuing it have to be encouraged even if they do not originate from native Arabic speakers.

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Abjad and Astrolabe in America, a triple A alliance

May 19, 2008

To meet the increasing demand for Abjad products from the United States, Abjad has joined forces with Astrolabe Islamic Media who will act as the official distributor for this important region.

Astrolabe Islamic Media is a producer, marketer and distributor of products that celebrate Islamic values, culture and civilization. With deep American roots, the company strives to serve as an ambassador between various cultures and communities. Astrolabe carries an impressive line of educational tools for children as well as adults and pays special attention to preschool children, "as the self-image developed by these youngsters will greatly improve the quality of life for the next generation of Arab- and Muslim-Americans. Parents in desperate need of quality entertainment for their very young children, who are still too young for formal schooling, are finding Astrolabe products to be a blessing."

There could be no better place to launch this promising alliance than at the 42nd annual Islamic Society of North America convention to be held from September 2-5, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Over 35,000 participants attend this prestigious event. Mr. Majzub and representatives from Astrolabe will be on hand during the conference to meet with as many as possible.


Cairo 21st International Children's Book Fair

November 5, 2005

On the opening day the Minister of Culture, H.E. Farouk Hosni, introduced Mustafa Majzub to Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt's First Lady, based on his impression of Abjad's work that he had seen at the Frankfurt Book fair. Also present were Minister of Education, H.E. Ahmed Gamal Ezz ed-Din, and Minister of Youth, H.E. Anas El-Fekky. Mrs. Mubarak appeared to be pleased with what she saw of the Abjad Arabic Educational System and the fact that it was being adapted for use for children with special needs. She was also interested to hear about Abjad's annual Educational Conference, which Abjad hopes will be placed under her auspices in future. In the conference that followed Mrs. Mubarak expressed her delight in regards to the development that was apparent in this year's fair and said that this proved that Egypt was working in the right direction towards bringing children's literature to a higher level.


The 37th Egyptian International Book fair

January 26, 2005

The President and the First Lady took time to stop at the Abjad booth at the opening of this years book fair, and spoke with Mr. Majzub . He took the opportunity to present Madame Mubarak, who continues to show interest in Abjad, with the recently published bi-lingual Abjad CD-ROM.


Frankfurt Book Fair

January 1, 2004

The Arab world was guest of honour this year at the Frankfurt Book Fair and Abjad was present in the Egyptian wing as part of the Tradigital stand. Abjad elicited great interest from not only the Arab/Muslim world but also from European countries as well as N. & S. America. As a result, Abjad is focusing on appointing distributors in many regions during the coming months. We encourage all potential distributors to contact us for our distributor terms.

As part of the Frankfurt celebrations, a magnificent exhibition entitled "A Written Cosmos – Arabic Calligraphy and Literature Throughout the Centuries" was organized at one of the principle museums in the city - The Museum for Applied Arts (Museum fur Angewandte Kunst). The museum curators singled out the Abjad Alphabet Teaching System as one of the great developments in Arabic writing and have included the Abjad letters in the museum display. This magnificent exhibition will continue until 30th of January 2005.

Amongst the important visitors that Abjad made contact with were H.E. the Iranian Ambassador to France Sayed Mohammed Sadegh Kharrazi; Tan Sri Kamarul Ariffin, Chairman of the Board, Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka (The Institute of Language & Literature.), Malaysia; Mr. Farouk Hosni, The Egyptian Minister of Culture.


The Abjad Arabic Educational System Conferences

May 4, 2004

These conferences launched Abjad as the premiere pre-school Teaching System in the Arab World. Over the last few years, Abjad has developed its books and teaching materials into a comprehensive teaching system.

The system now includes books, puzzles and tapes that address various early Arabic education steps. The inclusion of a multimedia dimension - The Letters and Words CD Rom - is an important part of this latest developmental phase. Another is a tremendous development for the classroom is the giant Abjad Wooden Letter Set made with the use of laser technology.

The response to Abjad's invitation to the Arabic education community in Egypt has been nothing short of tremendous. The Egyptian Educational Ministry has is currently in the process of evaluating the Abjad System for general use in Egyptian pre-schools. Meanwhile over an 100 private schools are using the Abjad System in Egypt. Abjad has also made its first steps in collaborating with special needs schools.

 


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