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The “educational clinic” descends from the blue space to the land of America

[القاهرة] The ‘Educational Clinic’ initiative transformed from Facebook interactive platformto a non-profit organization in the United States of America.

The initiative was launched by Egyptian expatriate scholars in 2018; To benefit university students, young researchers, academics and professionals, and to fill their need for an interactive community from which they can benefit from the experiences of their distinguished predecessors.

At the time, a group was launched on Facebook, but now the number of its members has exceeded 108 thousand, bringing together aspiring science students with senior scientists and researchers without distinction between race, color, gender or country.

Then the initiative was recently transformed into a non-profit institution, and its launch was announced at the end of last March in America, bearing the same name.

“The institutional form allows for partnerships with universities and academic bodies,” according to Ramzy Abdel Aziz, a faculty member at the Center for Nanomicroscopy at Aalto University in Finland, and one of the founders of the initiative.

Abdul Aziz says to the network SciDev.Net“It allows obtaining funding from donors to provide more support to the beneficiaries of the initiative,” within the framework of the declared goal since its inception three years ago, which is to transfer experiences.

And he added: The first step after transforming into an institution is to launch a website that offers “courses” that address some of the problems observed during the three years, such as the problem of not being able to write a correct CV, presenting a good scientific presentation, or writing an email professionally.

The Facebook platform will remain a window of communication, through which the experiences of Egyptian scientists at home and abroad are transmitted to young researchers, and an observatory of problems, and then provide solutions to them through “courses” that will be available free of charge or at nominal prices through the institution’s website, according to Abdel Aziz.

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And he indicated that during the period of Facebook, the educational clinic directed many young people wishing to obtain master’s and doctoral scholarships abroad or to undertake a new research or scientific experience.

The idea of ​​the initiative won the praise of Hani Muhanna, assistant professor of agricultural engineering at the National Research Center, because it contributes to solving one of the most important problems of scientific research, which is the lack of a mentor or mentor for young researchers.

While students in Western universities are distributed among professors, so that each professor is responsible for guiding some students, we lack this in our Arab world, which makes this initiative a useful tool to achieve this.

But Muhanna is concerned about the mechanism of interaction through Facebook, that students may receive an answer from a non-specialist or who does not have enough experience to guide him properly.

Muhanna also questions about the most prominent problems that they succeeded in diagnosing, and the extent of the initiative’s success in attracting non-Egyptian members, given that all the founding members are Egyptians.

To reassure and answer Muhanna’s questions, Mahmoud Abdel Hafeez – Associate Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University in Sweden, and one of the founders of the initiative – says: The response to inquiries is subject to the “admin” monitoring to ensure that the answers come from the right person, and sometimes Delete the answers, when it is certain that they were issued by the wrong person, and the answer writer is warned not to repeat it.

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A review of the comments on the group reveals the success of the initiative in creating opportunities for young people and young researchers through the guidance they received from experienced people, according to Abdel Hafeez.

Abdul Hafeez says to the network SciDev.Net: “Sometimes a student who just graduated from college surprises us and writes an 8-page CV, most of which do not benefit the job he is applying for.”

One of the tips we give to such people, focus on hitting the target by focusing on what benefits the job.

“It also surprises us that a student hurried to apply for a scholarship in universities with a very limited rating, just because he wanted to travel abroad, and such people we managed to put them on the right path with some tips to prepare themselves for a scholarship in high-ranking universities.”

Although the founders of the initiative are Egyptians, “their success in attracting some experts from other Arab countries in interactive dialogues with the group’s members denied it the Egyptian character, and it now includes members from all Arab countries,” according to Abdel Hafeez.

This article was produced by the SciDev.Net Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa