With its economy focused on global markets, it’s no surprise that Palestine puts a strong emphasis on learning English: Across the country, young men and women are signing up for conversation and writing classes in record numbers–confident that fluent English will boost their chances of landing a job. But for youth who can’t afford lessons—or who want to practice outside the classroom–the options are limited: On the street, in the workplace, and in cafes, Arabic is the main language spoken.
Now, that reality is changing: Last month the British Council, Souktel, and Wataniya Mobile (Ooredoo Group) signed an agreement to provide new mobile “Learn English” services for youth across the country—leveraging Palestine’s booming growth in cell phone ownership, especially among youth. A mobile quiz service will send English language questions to users, with a choice of answers; follow-up explanations will help youth learn more about the correct response. A parallel subscription service will send users a word or phrase in English, along with its meaning and an example of its use. The goal of both services is simple: Help young Palestinians build their English skills—anytime, anywhere.
“There is a lot of demand for ways to learn English for people on the move, outside of schools and colleges,” explained British Council English Programme Manager Andrew Foster. “While we use websites, radio and print media…to reach learners, trying SMS is a new medium for us. We hope learners will like it, as it may be the most common form of reading in Palestine”.
Souktel President Jacob Korenblum added: “We’re honored to partner with British Council and Wataniya Mobile on this important service. By giving youth the ability to access English content on their phones, students and new graduates can now learn at any time, and wherever they want to–they don’t need to be sitting in a classroom”.
He adds: “When we look at the demands of the job market, English is at the top of the list—even for local employers: Product manuals are in English, the common language for suppliers or buyers is English, web content and social media are in English. As a result, we believe this service will help youth build key skills for the workforce, across all sectors”.
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For more information on the British Council’s mobile services, click here.