In order to keep all categories of students busy during the COVID-19 induced holidays, a Radio and Television Learning Programme for over 1 million primary school pupils, junior secondary school students and integrated quranic school learners affected by the closure of schools has been launched in Bauchi.
The E-learning program is a tripartite agreement between United Nations Children Fund, (UNICEF), Bauchi Field Office in collaboration with Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the two-state government-owned broadcast media organisations, Bauchi Radio Corporation (BRC) and Bauchi State Television (BATV).
The programme is also a joint initiative by USAID, NEI, Master Trainers from the State Colleges of Education, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) and Bauchi State Polytechnic.
UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bhanu Pathak, disclosed during the flagging off of the programme on Wednesday held at the Hazibal Event Center in Bauchi, said that the aim of the Programme is to provide technical support for the development of education sector COVID-19 contingency plan as an integral part of the State response plan to ensure the continuation of teaching and learning while children are at home as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
He also said that since schools have been shut down in the state as a result of the COVID-19, millions of school children and their staff at all levels are currently staying at home, adding that with indefinite closure of the schools, not only are children missing out on education, which is a fundamental right, they are also exposed to more risks of an educational setback such as examination failure and uprooting from the school where they could have been taught and sensitised on COVID- 19.
Bhanu Pathak added that “One of the response strategies of the plan is to develop context-appropriate strategies for continuous learning that allow pupils, teachers and schools to utilise flexible and remote/ home-based learning, which may include homework assignments, reading material, Radio, TV, online content, and internet-based learning”.
He added that “Past evidence has shown that delivering curriculum via radio and television can be an effective way of maintaining the learning process and student engagement”
“We hope to reach children and parents through the designed Radio and TV Literacy and Numeracy programmes for primary school pupils, Junior secondary school students and Quranic School learners”, he said.
The UNICEF boss further said that “The programme includes sensitisation messages on the key practices to prevent COVID-19 such as physical distancing, staying at home and regular practising of personal hygiene”
Bhanu Pathak then said that the lessons will run from Monday to Friday on both Bauchi Radio Corporation, the 12 Community Radio Stations and Bauchi State Television station in the state between 8:00 and 11:00 in the morning and between 5:00 and 6:00 in the evening, adding that the broadcasts will reach a total number of 1,694,375 children with lessons right in their homes.
He then called on parents, caregivers and community members to ensure their children participate in the programme during the slated hours as it is one sure way to ensure children have uninterrupted education during the COVID-19 school’s closure.
In his address, Chairman of SUBEB, Dr Abubakar Sirumbai Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi assured that the Board is committed to the success of the program because according to him, the state government is interested in an improved standard of education.
He lamented the negative effect of the induced holidays of the school system saying that unless something was done to salvage the situation the aftereffect can best be imagined as it will set the system back.
The Chief Executive Officers of the two state-owned broadcast organisations, Idris Ibrahim Shall and Sirajo Ma’aji assured that the program will be aired as scheduled on the stations urging parents to always tune to the stations.