At the 2023 World Radio Day event, which was held in Abuja with the theme “Radio and Peace.”, the United Nations International Children’s fund, UNICEF, stated that more than 1.5 million students had been engaged with fundamental numeracy and literacy developments using 2300 Radio learning centers in the North-West Nigerian region. Saadhna Panday-Soobrayan, the UNICEF Chief of Education in Nigeria, made this announcement while speaking on the theme as well as the importance of radio on children’s education in Nigeria.
According to Panday, the United Nations Children’s Fund’s radio lessons program was also successful in reaching a total of 137,000 students who live in areas that are troubled and impacted by insurgents in Nigeria’s northwestern and northeastern regions. These students were able to improve their literacy levels as a result of the program. Radio-based education, along with other cutting-edge initiatives such as the Nigeria Learning Passport, is assisting in developing a more robust educational system in Nigeria. Because of this, the educational programs broadcast on the radio have reached a greater number of children.
Despite the closure of schools, education continues with radio.
More so, when COVID-19 compelled the closure of schools, radio was utilized to continue teaching in remote locations. Radio learning hubs are set up because they are committed to using radio to expand access to education for all children. The chief of education emphasized the importance of radio as a medium that helps spread knowledge and ensures that education keeps going. She noted that UNICEF has been quite successful in engaging broadcast stations, particularly in areas of the nation that were facing major issues in terms of insecurity.
While there is promising evidence that radio can be utilized to keep children active in their studies, Nigeria has a significant problem with its high rate of out-of-school youngsters. one in three children is not in school, and three out of four who are enrolled in elementary school do not have the foundational skills necessary to read or answer simple math problems. While it is important to improve school facilities in the short term, she notes that not every child will be able to benefit from this. However, they have used radio, and there’s proof that TV, radio, digital learning, and community centers are all children’s effective learning places.
Additional Radio collaboration is needed to educate out-of-school children.
Furthermore, she called for collaborations with other Radio media agencies while emphasizing the need to formalize relationships between the organizations. The use of radio for the improvement of educational possibilities must take place continuously across all places at every moment. It shouldn’t be limited to just the stations in the Northeast; rather, every radio station ought to be involved. Also, every station ought to commit to reaching out to children who cannot attend standard schools.
The two main obstacles in the basic education system are the problems of learning literacy and out of school concerns. However, through jingles, measures are taken to send messages to communities regarding why it is crucial for children to attend school. Therefore, they require the participation of all radio stations in order to effectively address the problem of children who are outside of school. The participation of radio stations should not be limited to Borno, Kebbi, Zamfara, and a few others; rather, it should be carried out across all 36 states.
Interactive radio will help students interact with volunteers.
Speaking further, she explained that UNICEF creates content in collaboration with state Universal Basic Education Boards SUBEBs, and media outlets while the radio stations present it. As a result of the instructional character of radio as a medium, which limits interaction between learners and speakers, she added that UNICEF has developed interactive radio, which allows trained community volunteers to serve as intermediaries between students and material. The interactive radio trains volunteer community teachers so students can listen to it through solar-powered radio. Also, Nigeria Radio Stations have been compelled to commit space on their airwaves to connect to students who need help finding their entrance into formal schools. She stated that radio is vital to teaching as education emphasizes peace.