Television is helping the learning continuity of children during COVID-19
To support learning continuity of children during the school closure, UNICEF, with funding from the Education Cannot Wait programme, is supporting TV and radio education programmes, including translating into local languages.
MAPUTO, Mozambique – “We miss our teachers, they were really nice and helped us solve our exercises, but with the coronavirus we need to adapt and learn to solve our exercises alone at home,” said 17-year-old Alzira Ngomane and her 14-year-old brother Amilcar Ngomane, in the neighborhood of Albazine, in Maputo City. Since their school was closed in March 2020, as a preventive measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are now studying at home using the Telescola television programme from the national TV station TVM.
Every afternoon, for 30 minutes, Alzira and Amilcar place their notebooks on the small wooden table in their living room and turn on their television to accompany the lessons transmitted by the national TV station TVM, every day from 3 pm. They both recognize that it is not the same as being in a classroom with their classmates, and despite the short time they manage to remember some subjects and do their exercises.
Alzira studies at Escola Secundária Eduardo Mondlane at 12th grade and dreams of becoming a Civil Engineer. Her school closed 6 months ago when the Government of Mozambique declared the State of Emergency due to the coronavirus. "I try to maintain a routine while at home, I wake up and do my house chores, then I study with the Telescola. Without the Telescola, it would be difficult to understand the subjects and solve the exercises, the teachers who participate in the Telescola clarify many of my questions, and I manage to make the homework they give at school and understand the subject better," said Alzira.
"At school, it was easier to get answers to my questions because we had the teacher there, at home, it’s more difficult to study and concentrate. My dream is to be an architect because I like to draw. And I know that I need to go to school in order to achieve my dream in the future, and, with the schools closed, the Telescola is helping me to continue studying at home so that I can continue working towards achieving my dream," said Amilcar.
To support learning continuity of children during the school closure, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), with funding from the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) programme, is supporting Telescola (TV education programme) and radio education programmes, including translating into local languages and broadcasting on community radios. For instance, TVM broadcasts about 1.5 to 2.5 hours of Telescola per day to support the continuity of learning for primary and secondary school children. During COVID-19, school closures and restrictions in movements ensued in Mozambique, hindering the learning of millions of children. Up until September 2020, the Government has yet to decide on the re-opening of primary and secondary schools.
56-year-old Constância Guiama, a teacher of the 2nd cycle - one of several teachers who took on the challenge to teach in Telescola - says that "this experience has been an added value both for the teachers who participate in the filming and for those who accompany them from home. I was part of the Telescola programme since it originally started back in 2005, so when the schools closed due to coronavirus it only made sense to go back and support the students using the Telescola," said Constância.
Constância also uses online platforms to support her students. Once a week she gives classes using the Zoom application, so she can have an interaction with her students. Some of her students are unable to participate in online classes due to the financial situation that does not always allow them to have access to the internet, “I get complaints from my students that they don’t have internet access to participate on my Zoom calls or read my explanations on WhatsApp, so the Telescola helps to complement this problem”.
17-year-old Herika Manhiça and her 12-year-old sister Laurina Manhiça, are also using Telescola to study and learn from home. They live in Bairro das Mahotas, in Maputo City. Herika studies at Escola Secundária de Laulane at 12th grade, and her sister studies at Escola Primária Completa Estrela do Oriente at 7th grade. Both share the same dream of becoming doctors.
"Our day is different now, we must stay in quarantine at home, and we learn that we always have to wear a mask if we want to go outside and wash our hands with soap and water to protect ourselves from the coronavirus. As soon as the coronavirus started here, our school closed, and they gave us copies of exercises so we could study at home. It was difficult to do some of the exercises without support as some subjects were new, but with the Telescola it's easier, as through our television we can learn each day new subjects and they also teach us how to solve some exercises. We all thought the coronavirus was going to pass quickly and we were going to go back to school soon, but unfortunately, this is not the case now," said Herika.
With what she has learned watching the Telescola, Herika has decided to teach her younger sister and her friends at home, "I use the black gate of my house to teach them. If I can read, I have to teach others how to read," concluded Herika.