The new “Arab Social Media Outlook 2014” report sheds light on social media trends in the Arab region during 2013 with aims to better understand the increasing impact of social media on the lives of Arab citizens during the current year.
The report, produced by the Governance and Innovation Programme at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) in partnership with the Dubai Press Club (DPC), makes use of numerous studies conducted by the programme in the Arab Social Media Report series to analyse the impact of social media on different aspects including media, socio-economic and political trends for individuals living in the Arab world.
The report examines the reality of social media in the Arab world during 2013, trends of utilizing social media as a news source in addition to its impact on education throughout the Arab world. It focuses on the demographics of social media platforms in the Arab world. For example, Egypt topped the Arab countries with the largest Facebook user base in 2013 whereas the UAE recorded the highest penetration to population ratio of 54%, an increase of one million users during 2013.
In addition to trends and demographic analytics in the report, MBRSG’s Governance and Innovation Programme conducted a regional research survey with close to 4,000 participants focusing on the quality of education in the region; the use of technology and social media in classes; and the impact of interrupting education due to conflicts and political instability. The survey also collected views on education reform.
Further, the report reveals that 10% of the respondents had children in schools that utilize social media platforms as education tools in classes. Teachers also pointed out the importance of using the Internet and social media platforms as innovative means to help engage students in projects and participation, thus supplementing teaching methods.
55% of teachers use social media platforms as a resource for education, whereas 56% of parents expressed concern over the distraction that social media platforms create. 84% of the respondents saw that governments should cooperate with the private sector to ensure full access to the Internet in classrooms. Around 77% said that social media platforms should be included in education reform strategies.
The report points to the prospect of using social media platforms as channels of exchanging knowledge, highlighting the positive effect of engaging parents and students in education through facilitating distance education and cutting the time and cost of the learning process.
Respondents also agreed that social media ought to be included in education reform strategies through integrating social media platforms in education and as a facilitator in the policy-making process related to education. Respondents further agreed that providing full access to the Internet and technology by governments and the private sector is a key aspect of education reform.
The full report can be downloaded via the following link