COVID-19 Education Response Webinar: Distance education programmes using radio and television in Latin America, summary report

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused education disruptions in most countries around the world. Nationwide and localized school closures have impacted more than 90% of the world’s student population. In the Latin America and Caribbean region, this corresponds to 160 million students at all levels. Many countries suddenly had to establish online distance education to ensure continuity of education. However, some 826 million students (50%) who are kept out of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do not have access to a computer, about 706 million (43%) lack Internet access and 56 million live in areas not covered by mobile networks. According to UNCTAD, in Latin America, about two-thirds of people have internet access, but that figure masks a vast imbalance between and within countries ranging from Nicaragua, where 25% of people have internet access, to 80% in Chile. For many teachers, the use of digital tools is also a challenge. Many do not have the skills required or digital equipment, while others lack connectivity due to insufficient financial means and/or lack of local supply. In light of the technological divide that exists, almost all countries have already set up or wish to develop educational broadcasts on mass media such as television and radio, in order to reach a greater number of learners, especially the most vulnerable. These “traditional” media channels enjoy wide coverage and have taken advantage of the digital revolution of the past decade to increase their power and reach. Moreover, they can provide opportunities for intergenerational learning and psychosocial support, including in local languages, to out-of -school children, youth and illiterate adults. It is against this background that UNESCO and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) organized this series of virtual workshops on distance education programmes using radio and television. The objectives of this virtual workshop are to facilitate knowledge sharing on good practices in the development of educational audiovisuals and, in doing so, to strengthen collaboration between educational content developers and audiovisual specialists, with a focus on the Latin America and Caribbean region.


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