One of the challenges for many seminaries around the world is getting access to books, particularly books in the local languages.

It is interesting to see that secondary school students in the United Arab Emirates are now receiving an “e-Zayed book,” which is a USB flash memory disk usable in any laptop or computer.

A student can order any number of subjects taught in public schools to be included in the hand-held device…. The current product includes only the Grade 12 curriculum of public schools. The subjects include physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and Arabic and English languages.

The primary motivation is not so much to grant access but “to ease the burden of carrying heavy books to school.”

e-Enabled Society
Sawsan Al Rahma, Director of Zayed E-Book said: “The initiative aims at fostering the UAE’s strategic plans towards creating an e-enabled society.”

Zayed E-Book has signed a franchise agreement with the Educational Horizons Publishing & Distribution, holders of the Ministry of Education’s copyright to publish and distribute books for government schools throughout the UAE.

Abdulla Khalifa Al Qubaisi, CEO of Educational Horizons said: “This initiative will be a turning point in education methodologies followed in our schools. The prospects to develop the e-project and widen its scope to include other curricula are high.”

The memory flash card, CD packs and online material is light, superb for giving access, speedy in its delivery but negotiating the copyright issues still exists as the primary burden to overcome.

How are you in your seminary working through these issues of access, delivery and copyright?

More on the UAE e-Society Model can be found at:

Zayed E-Book, Fahad Inc., 26 October 2006

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The e-Zayed book in the UAE.