Radio service being used for education in Latin America

Latin America has turned to radio services to help students continue learning during the lockdown. Programs have been structured into lessons and scheduled to help students who cannot access the internet.

The spread of coronavirus in Latin America is resulting in local radios adopting services targetted at students who have been forced to stay at home due to coronavirus. The educational radio services are being broadcast across many countries in the region, bringing a new focus on the inequalities in the region.

The closure of schools meant that education could not continue and a new system of learning had to be developed fast. Unlike many countries in the West and other regions, migration to virtual learning in the majority of countries in this region would not have been possible.

Turning to radio services for education

Lack of access to learning resources that would have enabled online learning was non-existent especially in rural areas. This lead to government and education stakeholders coming up with creative ways such as using radio services and TV broadcasts to carry out lesson programs for students who are at home.

Columbia, for example, has internet connectivity of less than 35 percent in rural areas. The migration to online learning for the country, therefore, meant that majority of rural students would be left behind by their peers. To close this gap, Students in the country are now adapting to new realities of having their lessons broadcast over a radio station.

This is not the first time radio services are being used to disseminate lessons. Years ago, lessons were carried out on radio stations in the country to help students learn arithmetic and literacy skills in the country.

Impact of radio lessons

The program has been received well by teachers who see this as an opportunity to ensure students continue their education at home. Diana Lopez, a teacher in the Colombian town of Funza said she could not imagine children not being able to access education. She commended the radio services for broadcasting lessons across the country and ensuring more students are able to continue with their education.

The situation was the same across other countries such as Mexico and Peru, which also have a below 35 percent internet connectivity according to data from the Inter-American Development Bank.

In Cuba, more than 200 radio stations are airing free learning content to students in rural and urban areas to ensure the education continues smoothly. The lack of internet access in the country has contributed greatly to how positively these programs have been received.


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