This is the era of smart phones, tablet PCs. President Obama plans to replace all the textbooks in the United States with digital e-learning solutions by 2018. Unfortunately, in some parts of the world, students are not even fortunate enough to be able to attend school. They cannot afford tablet PCs, or e-learning devices, but radio acts as their tool for learning.
Radio is still being used as an important tool for learning in several countries. Republic of Liberia was recently in the limelight, as NGOs are using radio to spread education in this country.
NGOs use radio to spread education
Liberia already has large number of adults and children who did not attend school or college, due to poverty and civil war. Now Ebola outbreak is adding fuel to this fire.
Ebola outbreak has completely disturbed people’s life in several African nations. Schools in certain parts of Western African are still shut, and authorities do not allow people to gather in groups. This has drastically impacted schools, colleges, and offices. Unfortunately, these students from poor countries cannot afford e-learning tools due to lack of funds and unavailability of resources. Surprisingly, non-profit organizations found the perfect tool to spread education. Radio!
Liberia’s non-profit organization called Educational Development Center records audio programs featuring lessons for leadership development skills, math instructions, and certain job training related lessons. The NGO has also recorded lessons related to basics like introduction to math, introduction to phonics, letter names, etc. Some of these lessons were recorded during “The Advancing Youth” project’s night classes conduced before Ebola outbreak. Currently, around ten radios stations in Liberia broadcast these recorded lessons at-least twice every day.
Education Development Center’s Lisa Hartenberger-Toby is managing this program. She recently interacted with journalists and shared her opinion that this program is helping students to learn while sitting at their house with their workbooks. All they need to do is switch on their radio set during the show.
The NGO sends text messages to the students and even radio stations constantly air add about the broadcast. This program’s first lesson was aired in October, and the non-profit organization has enough material to continue the broadcast till April this year.
Lisa also shared the information that their organization has received positive response from students. Most of them feel that this program has helped them to summarize what they have learned throughout the year. Now, even elementary-school students and their parents are calling the organization and are urging them to develop additional lessons for them as well.
Lisa also believes that this and other similar programs might prove to be the perfect tool for morale boost, especially, in areas that are hard hit by Ebola.
Radio is here to stay
Radio might be considered outdated device in developed countries. But governments in countries like India, Pakistan, China, etc. still use radio as tool to spread awareness about various issues related to industrial and agricultural sector in remote villages.
Even BBC, DW, VOA and other popular radio channels use radio for broadcasting educational programs in various parts of the world. So, tablet PC might replace textbook someday, but radio is here to stay.