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Countries replacing in-person learning with television

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

By Dhruv Anish and Larry Ye Oct. 14, 2020

Jessica Lin Art


With COVID-19 shutting down educational institutions across the globe, students and teachers have found themselves in a logistical dilemma about the new school year. While most schools in the U.S. have started virtual instruction through computers or smartphones, schools in some other countries have decided to utilize air broadcasting for their students to learn.

Countries like Afghanistan, Brazil and Mexico have all implemented learning through television, radio or both. Most students have limited internet access since they do not have Wi-Fi devices, but the majority of families in these countries have television. A study by Mexican authorities found that 14 out of every 15 families in Mexico have television, with the remaining families having radios. Designed to keep students safe from the pandemic, learning through radio or television programs has also been able to reach more students and ensure their access to education.

Designed to keep students safe from the pandemic, learning through radio or television programs has also been able to reach more students and ensure their access to education.

While students may be able to continue their education over television and radio, there are still differences in comparison to online distance learning. Through the internet, students can interact with their classmates and teachers in real time, which is valuable to teachers who rely on immediate feedback from students to adjust the pace and content of lectures. Based on face-to-face interactions, they can also ask questions and participate in group discussions. However, instruction over television or radio requires students to watch pre-recorded lessons, making it difficult for students to obtain clarifications and teacher support in a timely manner.

“Learning through television and radio programs is more challenging because lessons are not as engaging. Concentrating on coursework will also be a lot more difficult without a teacher in attendance,” Sophomore Daniel Xie said.

Parents also have reservations about the new instructional programs because of limited resources for student supervision. Since the majority of them work, staying home during the day is challenging. Additionally, households with multiple school-age children and only one television set are unsure of how their students are supposed to take classes at the same time. In some areas, lack of access to technology could widen the gap between students with the necessary equipment and students from rural or indigenous backgrounds.

“A lot of education gaps are the consequence of financial discrepancies and using the television as the main form of education in places like Mexico will surely widen gaps. Can an environment where students are less supervised and cannot receive answers to questions really be considered class? With this in mind, I would not be surprised if there were massive inequity consequences from television-based education,” Senior Edward Hwang said.

Despite Mexican national reports indicating that 49 percent of students who were enrolled in television learning programs scored below average on the national language exams, a 17 percent decrease from traditional schools, governments are still hopeful that schools will be able to maintain high quality education for students. Programs like “telesecundaria” provide secondary schools with curriculum specifically tailored to television learning. These programs combine broadcasts from past classes with group chats, enabling students to contact their peers and teachers. They also help students better comprehend information presented to them during lectures.

Despite Mexican national reports indicating that 49 percent of students who were enrolled in television learning programs scored below average on the national language exams... governments are still hopeful that schools will be able to maintain high quality education for students.

By implementing television and radio broadcasts in place of virtual learning over the internet, governments have been able to reach school-age children in indigenous and rural communities who previously have not been able to obtain a formal education. Although learning through television and radio may represent a significant shift from common practice in previous years, students can still take advantage of the situation's unique benefits and continue their education virtually.

 

About the Contributors

Dhruv Anish


Dhruv Anish is a junior at Leland High School who is a staff writer for the newspaper. He likes to watch movies and listen to music in his spare time. His favorite actor is Robert Deniro and his favorite movie is The Godfather: Part 2.














Larry Ye


Larry Ye is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer for the Leland Charger Account. He likes to swim and travel and loves his pet dog named Meatball.

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