Source: Save The Children
Asmau*, 12, studies at home thanks to radio learning supported by Save the Children in Nigeria
School closures across Nigeria have only made the existing education divide worse, with children in rural areas being further left behind.
Children in urban areas who have access to the internet and digital devices quickly adopted online learning. But for children without access to the internet, devices or even electricity, learning is virtually impossible.
To bridge this gap caused by COVID-19, Save the Children with funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, distributed 1,450 solar-powered radio sets to the most vulnerable children in the Borno State, so they could participate in the government’s radio lessons.
For 12-year-old Asmau Adamu*, who is one of children who received the radio, it was a moment to remember.
“When I got the radio set, I jumped to the sky. When our school was closed, we were doing nothing for months. I was unable to learn again and I had almost forgotten everything I had learnt while in school because the closure is more than the normal holidays.
“Even though my mother used to ask us to be listening to the radio learning through her mobile phone, the signal was not that clear and we rarely heard what was being taught. But with the radio set, I can listen and comprehend the lessons.”
Speaking about how she’s getting on with the radio education, Asmau says: “Even though I cannot compare the radio learning to classroom learning, this is far better than staying at home without learning at all.
“When the school finally opens, I will not be struggling to remember what we were taught before the closure. My mother provides some guidance with whatever little she knows and she ensures that we take notes of all lessons while the programme is going on.”
But it is not without its challenges, as Asmau explains: “The challenges with radio programme is that one cannot ask a question and get an answer. The time allocated for each subject is too short and finally, nobody is available to mark the assignments given during the lessons; but I’m happy I’m still learning in one way or the other.”
Asmau’s Mother, Salamotu Adamu*, added that the radio set was a relief to her.
“I think I was the happiest person in the community the day the radio set was given to Asmau. I want my children to go to school and be educated.
“All my children including my neighbor’s children make use of the radio set. They will all gather around Asmau between 8:00 am and 10:00 am from Monday to Friday every week. I’m in charge of the radio set so that the children will not spoil it. The radio set is solar powered so we don’t have an issue with electricity. I’m happy my children are still learning even when the school is closed.”
We are calling on governments to continue to invest in children’s education. Innovative programmes like these are a lifeline for children.
*Name changed to protect identity.
Save Our Education is our global campaign, which urgently calls on world leaders to support children with accessible distance learning, ensuring all children return to school when it is safe to do so, and are supported to catch up on their lost learning. Read the full Save Our Education report.