African teachers are building on years of radio education to keep learning affordable and accessible.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, over 85% of households lack access to the internet at home and 89% of students do not have access to a computer outside of school. On the African continent, expensive and unreliable internet reaches only 40% of the population.
In both urban and rural areas, battery-operated radios broadcast information to entire households. As cheap as $5, a radio is less energy-intensive than a television and can be shared more easily than a smartphone. The infrastructure was already there. All that educators needed was to adapt content.
When Liberia and Sierra Leone reported their first coronavirus cases, radio lessons emerged as the most viable solution. Six years earlier, West Africa had suffered through an Ebola crisis. Schools and businesses shut down, hoping to curb direct-contact transmissions, but national educational programs rolled out radio lessons so that children did not miss out on schooling.