The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), on Wednesday launched Radio and Television learning programmes for school children in the state.
Speaking during the official launching of the programme, Mr Bhanu Pathak, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field Office, said the programme would reach a total number of 1,694,375 children.
Pathak said this number of children were currently staying at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak in the state.
He said the lessons on the programmes would run from Monday to Friday on both Bauchi Radio Corporation (BRC) and Bauchi State Television (BATV) between 8:00a.m and 11:00a.m, as well as 5:00p.m and 6:00p.m.
“Since schools have been shut down in the state as a result of COVID-19, millions of school children and their staff are currently staying at home.
“With the indefinite closure of schools, not only are children missing out on education, they are being exposed to more risks of educational setback,” Pathak said.
The UNICEF chief of field office, said that part of the strategies was to develop context-appropriate for continuous learning.
According to him, the plans will allow pupils, teachers and schools to utilise flexible and remote/ home-based learning, which may include: homework assignments, reading materials, Radio, TV, online content, and internet-based learning.
“For this reason, UNICEF is collaborating with government and other partners to fulfil its primary responsibility of ensuring that children continue with their education during the duration of the COVID-19-induced schools’ closure,” he said.
Pathak said the feats would be achieved in collaboration with Bauchi SUBEB, Education institutions and two Bauchi State Government-owned broadcast media organisations.
According to him, UNICEF has provided technical support for the development of education sector COVID-19 contingency plan as integral part of Bauchi State response plan to ensure continuation of teaching and learning while children are at home.
He further called on parents, caregivers and community members to ensure their children participate in the programme during the slated hours.
“This is a sure way to ensure children have uninterrupted education during the COVID-19 schools’ closure,” he said.
The UNICEF chief also appreciated other partners like USAID/NEI on the outstanding partnership as well as the master trainers from the state Colleges of Education, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) and Bauchi State Polytechnic for the technical and professionalism support.
He said the technical partners exhibited commitment during the development, recording and production of the lessons.
Also, Malam Abubakar Surumbai, Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board, described the programme as “a good initiative and great idea”.
Surumbai urged all parents to use the opportunity to keep their children at home so as to benefit immensely from the programme.
“I pray to God Almighty to make this programme useful, fruitful and successful for the good of our children,” he said.