While all schools in Somaliland have been closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Education and Science of Somaliland, with UNICEF’s support, has started broadcasting free radio and TV lessons to give children the chance to keep learning.
Below is an article by UNICEF Somali.
“I didn’t know it was possible to continue the lessons at home. This teaches us new ways of learning,” said Ismail Omer, a grade 8 student from Berbera, Somaliland, enthusiastically. “Even though we, as parents, need to spend time guiding our children and making sure they tune in on time, it’s great that they can continue learning at home,” explained his mother, Halimo Omer. “When our children stay at home, we do not need to worry about them contracting the [COVID-19] disease,” she added.
Ismail is one of the school children benefiting from the free radio and TV lessons the Ministry of Education and Science of Somaliland, with the support of UNICEF and partners, started providing after the schools closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As children’s normal schooling was disrupted, it was critical to harness technology and put in place alternative learning platforms, such as radio and television broadcasts, to reduce the impact of the school closures.
The programs, run in Somaliland, target children living in rural and remote areas as well as children at risk of exclusion, without internet access, and with disabilities. The lessons are currently aired on national radio and TV stations four hours a day from Saturday to Thursday. Initially, the lessons focused on grade 8 and 12 students, giving them an opportunity to continue preparing for national exams at the beginning of June to ensure a successful transition to secondary or tertiary education.
“We are so happy we could continue providing lessons, and that students are receiving their lessons at their homes despite the COVID-19 challenges,” said the Director General of the Ministry of Education and Science of Somaliland, expressing his joy to be able to support children to continue their education remotely.
More lessons for all grades are underway and will be broadcasted during the coming weeks and months to ensure as many children as possible remain safe and are able to continue learning. The goal is to reach 250,000 children through radio and TV lessons. This represents most of the children that were enrolled in school in Somaliland prior to the outbreak. The remaining children are expected to access online lessons provided by their schools.
UNICEF Somaliland’s experience in this field, including supporting the provision of Education in Emergencies, is critical and highly valued by the local authorities and beneficiaries and it will continue supporting the state Ministry’s efforts, both technically and financially.