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Global Challenges Research Funding Success Focussed on the Early Years

Language development in Arabic-speaking children in the early years.

Tackling the roots of academic and social inequalities

Ghada Khattab is leading this interdisciplinary endeavour. It is funded by the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund programme. It aims to develop the necessary knowledge and tools for effective Early Years policy in Levantine countries and Egypt. Its main focus will be on children’s language development.

The project involves a collaboration with researchers in:

  • the UK
  • the Arabic-speaking world
    • Camille Messarra, Saint Joseph University
    • Khalid Al-Shdifat, Jordan University of Science and Technology
    • Thair Odeh, Birzeit University

The project brings together educators, linguists, speech and language therapists and paediatricians in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and the West Bank. Together they'll develop methods to address academic and social inequalities in the region.

This will be achieved through the co-design of assessment and intervention methods to promote robust language development in Arabic-speaking children in the early years.

The project will also involve collaboration with NGOs involved in refugee education and with the Ministries of Health and Education in the relevant countries. This will raise the profile of the importance of early language for integration and improving later academic achievement and the life chances of the most disadvantaged children in the region.

The four-year project has a budget of £1.78 million, will run from 2020 to 2024. It will address UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 5 and 10.

You can find out the latest about the project: