Niruta from Western Nepal is no stranger to listening to the radio. However, she thought it was for listening to music and being entertained.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, she not only uses the radio to listen to songs but to learn as well. In the ninth grade at school, Niruta now tunes in each day to study. Her school has been closed since March due to lockdown in Nepal.
She says, “The radio class is useful for us. It creates a learning environment. I listen to the classes.”
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, all schools are closed in Nepal keeping around 7 million children at home. It is not yet known when they will be open again.
To ensure children don’t miss out on an education when they can’t physically be in school, Plan International Nepal is running radio classes in Banke, West Nepal. Local radio station Krishnasar broadcasts the classes for 2 hours, 5 days per week.
Radio schooling is an alternative approach to deliver lessons on a range of different topics. The teacher prepares a weekly lesson plan for different grades.
Prativa Sharma, a primary teacher who conducts radio classes said, “This is a good opportunity to continue learning for students in the crisis.
“We are focused on how we can make the classes effective as this is a new way of teaching children."
She said that radio classes are extra useful to the students as they have found ways for the children to ask their teacher questions.
Purnima, a seventh-grade student is enjoying the class too. She says, “I tune in to the radio for learning. It remined me of some good stories too.”
Plan International Nepal has collaborated with Save the Children and the local government to provide the radio schooling programme. The local government offices are also working to make parents and students aware about the radio classes in their communities so school children can listen and learn.