The Wikipedia Education Program began in the Arab World with a small pilot at two universities in Egypt in spring 2012 — and in one and a half years, the program has turned into a force on the Arabic Wikipedia, with students participating in the program in three countries adding content to Wikipedia as part of their university coursework. Many students translate featured and good articles from other language Wikipedias, but some students do original research and writing for the Arabic Wikipedia as well.
The third term has just wrapped up, and students in Egypt, Algeria, and Jordan added an astounding 12.79 million bytes of content to the Arabic Wikipedia this term. That’s more than double the 5.97 million bytes added by students in the fall 2012 term, and nearly seven times the 1.86 million bytes added by students in the pilot of the program in the Arab World. The amazing growth of the program bodes well for the future of the Arabic Wikipedia. In three terms, students in the Wikipedia Education Program Arab World have added a total of 20.61 million bytes to the Arabic Wikipedia. If you printed all of the content out, it would take nearly 15 reams of paper to capture all of the knowledge the students have added to Wikipedia.
For a language Wikipedia with only around 100 very active editors, the impact of the Education Program has already been significant. With only 240,000 articles, the Arabic Wikipedia is still quite small for one of the world’s major languages. Students participating in the program report that many students in the Arab World are forced to run articles from the English or other large Wikipedias through Google Translate to have access to free knowledge; through this program, that knowledge is appearing in their own language instead.
Students at three universities in Egypt participated in the program: Ain Shams University, Cairo University, and Damanhour University. One high school class in Cairo also joined the program. Small pilots at high schools and Isra University in Jordan, and Dr. Yahia Fares de Medea University in Algeria added knowledge to the Arabic Wikipedia this term as well, and additional courses will be joining the program next term from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. All told, 327 students participated in the program in the spring 2013 term in the Arab World.
Efforts in Egypt are driven by the hard work of professors and faculty leaders. Faculty leaders are volunteer Wikipedia editors who help recruit professors, find Wikipedia Ambassadors to help students, and coordinate activities within each faculty at the university. Faris El-Gwely, Walaa Abd El-Moneim, Doaa Saif El-Din, Helana Raafat, Mina Saber, and Samir El-Sharabaty’s hard work paid off this term, and we look forward to seeing the content available on the Arabic Wikipedia grow thanks to students in the Wikipedia Education Program Arab World.
Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager