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‘The metaverse can change the way we school our children’

Metaverse Inspired Education Group
Teaching is enhanced by learning options, such as augmented and virtual reality technologies
  • Eight in 10 young Arabs are concerned about quality of education
  • Metaverse complements real life and may replace the internet
  • Kids can attend physics class and virtually experience concept of gravity

Some schools still rely on more traditional teaching methods but an Emirati entrepreneur believes the metaverse has the potential to extend the physical classroom experience.

Using blended learning options such as augmented and virtual reality technologies, Amin Al Zarouni, CEO of UAE-based Web3 company Bedu, is aiming to give the Gulf’s education system an overhaul.

“The metaverse is an opportunity for education to disrupt how they deliver content,” he told AGBI.

“For me, the education industry has been like a dinosaur. I have kids, and I want them to be able to learn maths, science, physics, geology or biology in a different mode than how we learned it.”

In 2020 the World Economic Forum (WEF) published a report by the Britannica Group stating how education was no longer fit for purpose due to its focus on IQ and the ability of learners to memorise information.

The standard of education remains a persistent worry in Gulf nations and the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Eight in 10 (83 percent) young Arabs say they are concerned about the quality of education in their country, according to the 2022 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, which explored the views of 3,400 young Arabs aged 18 to 24 in 50 cities in the region. 

In September Bedu launched its 2117 metaverse – a metaverse simulation of the UAE’s 2117 Mars mission inspired by UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum’s vision to build the first inhabitable human settlement on the red planet.

The 2117 metaverse will enable virtual experiences that capture the sensations of being in space and setting foot on Mars – and Alzarouni believes educators should take a leaf out of his Web3 book and reimagine how they deliver classes in more immersive formats.

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Amin Al Zarouni, CEO of of UAE-based Bedu, aims to overhaul the Gulf’s education system. Picture: WAM

“Imagine studying physics in a classroom with tables and desks looking at the board,” he said.

“Or even if students are looking at a screen, it’s small or they’re watching something and not actually experiencing it.

“That’s the best teachers can deliver right now. But in the metaverse, kids can still go to school and during physics class they can join a metaverse and experience the concept of gravity and mass [in virtual reality].”

Investment giant JP Morgan predicts that the metaverse will generate $1 trillion in yearly revenues. Earlier this year Citi said the metaverse economy could be worth $13 trillion by 2030.

McKinsey said the metaverse has the potential to grow up to $5 trillion in value by 2030, with e-commerce as the biggest beneficiary, followed by virtual learning, advertising and gaming.

Dubai has already commenced work on a Metaverse Strategy that aims to see the sector contribute $4 billion to the emirate’s economy by 2030 and one percent to Dubai’s GDP, creating around 42,000 jobs.

Alzarouni stressed that moving education into the metaverse does not mean the industry needs to ditch physical classrooms.

“The metaverse does not mean physical interaction experience will die,” he said.

“I’m not saying kids shouldn’t go to school or join a school that exists just in the metaverse.

“Going to school is about building character, charisma, connections and social life and skills. They must go to school to learn. 

“But in the school they can also join the metaverse. The metaverse world, as an economy and as an experience, will complement what happens in real life.

“It’s going to replace the internet in the future so any industry will have to move to it.”

The shift to simulated environments is still a while away though, he added. “Any metaverse you hear about is a beta-verse,” he said. 

“It’s a journey. The roadmap is going to evolve. It’s going to be mature only after a while, say five to 10 years from now.

“Everybody is scratching the surface and trying to make it work. We are at the very early stage, and that why it’s an opportunity for everybody.”

Alzarouni said Bedu plans to become the next unicorn in the Web3 sector.

Project 2117 aims to become a 100-million-user metaverse environment in the next 10 years that will lead it to achieve the coveted status.

“Being classified in this [Web3] space as a unicorn is not decided by your financial power or your brand, it’s decided by user base and how the community trusts you,” he explained.

“In Web3, to achieve that status, you need the community to believe in you, which is why we are confident.”

Web3 is a movement that aims to create a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchain technology.