The Radio, My Learning Companion

Ensuring that #LearningNeverStops in the COVID-19 pandemic

A mother teaches her children with household items and the radio
10 November 2020

Salifu Asana is six years old and she is in Kindergarten at Kunguri District Assemby Primary School in the Northern Region of Ghana.  Since March 15th, 2020, Asana’s school, along with all primary schools in Ghana, closed due to COVID-19.

Asana remembers the day that schools closed:. “I waited to see if our mothers or any of our teachers would come to school to teach us but none showed up.” Fortunately, Asana’s mother is a Volunteer Mothers trained by the Ghana Education Service with support from UNICEF.

Asana says, “My mother is not educated, but she is able to help us because she has been trained by the Ghana Education Service.”

UNICEF Ghana supports the Ghana Education Service, in partnership with Lively Minds, to deliver play-based lessons to benefit Kindergarten learners in the local dialect (Dagbani) in Tolon District of Northern Ghana where Asana lives. The programme trains community women as “Volunteer Mothers” to come in one hour a day to teach the children literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills in local language, through play and indoor/outdoor games, in formal school set up.

Instead of cash, the Volunteer Mothers are rewarded with monthly skills training on good nutrition using locally available resources, prevention of diarrhoea, malaria and good parenting practices. Since the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic – the Volunteers Mothers are now trained to also use the lessons transmitted by radio to assist learners in their homes.

“My siblings and I use my daddy's radio.  After we return from the farm, my mum sits with us to help with homework. We usually do not understand everything said on radio.  So our mum explains the lessons and plays games with us to help us. It is very exciting". says Asana.

A boy listening to radio lessons at home
Asana listens to radio lessons with his sibling in Tolon in the Northern Region.

More children across Ghana now have access to distance learning, thanks to the Ghana Learning Radio Programme - a new initiative led by the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service.This exciting new project - supported by USAID and other partners including UNICEF - will help bridge the equity gap in learning and ensure that more children can continue to learn despite school closures in the time of COVID-19

Asana and children like her in this disadvantaged region of Ghana are able to continue learning even during this time of school closures. “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher. So, I can also teach others,” Asana says with a smile.

This is just one way that UNICEF is working with Ghana Education Service and other partners to ensure access to continuous learning for all children in Ghana – including the most marginalized.