Radio service used for education in Latin America

Latin America has turned to radio services to help students continue to learn during the lockdown. The programs have been structured into lessons and programmed to help students who cannot access the Internet.

The spread of the coronavirus in Latin America is leading local radios to adopt services for students who have been forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus. Educational radio services are broadcast in many countries in the region, placing a new emphasis on inequalities in the region.

The closure of schools meant that education could not continue and that a new learning system had to be developed quickly. Unlike many countries in the West and other regions, the migration to e-learning in the majority of countries in this region would not have been possible.

Turning to radio services for education

Lack of access to learning resources that would have enabled e-learning was non-existent, especially in rural areas. This has led the government and education stakeholders to come up with creative ways such as using radio and television services to make lesson plans for students who are at home.

Columbia, for example, has less than 35 percent Internet connectivity in rural areas. The migration to e-learning for the country therefore meant that the majority of rural students would be left behind by their peers. To close this gap, students across the country are now adjusting to the new realities of broadcasting their lessons on a radio station.

This is not the first time that radio services have been used to broadcast lessons. Years ago, classes were held on radio stations nationwide to help students develop arithmetic and literacy skills in the country.

Impact of radio lessons

The program has been well received by teachers who see it as an opportunity to ensure that students continue their studies at home. Diana Lopez, a teacher in the Colombian city of Funza, said she could not imagine that children could not access education. She praised the radio services for broadcasting courses across the country and for ensuring that more students could continue their studies.

The situation was the same in other countries such as Mexico and Peru, which also have internet connectivity below 35% according to data from the Inter-American Development Bank.

In Cuba, more than 200 radio stations broadcast free learning content to students in rural and urban areas to ensure continuity of education. The lack of Internet access in the country has greatly contributed to the positive reception of these programs.

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