COVID-19: Rural Children Risk Exclusion From GES TV School
The Director General,
Ghana Education Service (GES),
Dear Professor Opoku Amankwah,
Request To Include Radio Broadcast In On-Going Televised Virtual Learning Programme For Basic And Senior High Schools
1. Eduwatch commends the GES for rolling out a Virtual Learning Television Programme to engage students affected by the COVID-19 break. Even though the use of television is not interactive, it is among the best alternatives available given the undeveloped state of Gha-na’s Distance Learning Infrastructure.
2. Presently, there are about 7 million children in public Basic and Senior High /Technical Schools in Ghana. The World Bank estimates that about 21% of Ghana has no electricity; this, according to the USAID translates into 1.2 million households without electricity, majori-ty of which are rural.
3. Assuming one (1) child of Basic and SHS going age in every household, we can conveniently estimate that some 1.2 million pre-tertiary students live in households without electricity and cannot access the ongoing TV Virtual Learning Programme. This includes children in Opokukrom, Koikrom, Asarekrom, Wawase, etc.
This situation is a source of great concern to stakeholders, especially, within the context of a widening dichotomy in the provision of quality education between rural and urban areas. Rural children have always been at the receiving end of inefficiently implemented policies, leading to poor learning outcomes, high dropouts, and poverty.
4. To guarantee children in deprived communities without electricity their right to participate in the Virtual Learning Programme, radio is the most commonly available and accessed technology across the globe. UNESCO reports that about 90% of households in Sub Saharan Africa have access to a working radio set. In Ghana, there is hardly a rural household with-out a battery-powered radio set.
5. The various GBC Regional Radio stations have very wide coverage in each region they operate in. Where there is limited coverage, partner district/community radio stations can transmit lessons to the last household in each district.
6. We, therefore, advise the GES to consider using a parallel-Virtual Learning Programme on radio, targeting rural districts with limited electricity connectivity. This will enable children in these communities who cannot access digital TV to participate in scheduled lessons through radio.
We respectfully, count on your urgent action in this matter of public concern as we continuously review, monitor and support the GES’ COVID-19 response.
Very sincerely yours,
Kofi Asare Executive Director