SUPPORTING KIDS WHEN THERE’S NO ‘BACK TO SCHOOL’
Hundreds of millions of children worldwide remain out of school, and it is feared that 16 million may never return. With school systems in Middle East and North Africa countries among the most disrupted in the world, SAT-7 ACADEMY is stepping up its support to help children keep learning and support families’ wellbeing.
“It is more important than ever to support children’s education in every way, and on every platform, that we can,” says Juliana Sfeir, Brand Manager for the educational brand. “Multiple factors including the pandemic, insecurity, and economic crisis are limiting children’s access to education. Our support may now make the vital difference to whether or not they persevere in their learning.”
Children in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Libya in particular are struggling in some of the world’s most disrupted education systems. The effect on girls’ education in the region is particularly stark, with the addition of Syria and Iraq to this list meaning the Middle East and North Africa is home to five out of the eight most disrupted education systems in the world.
In Lebanon, where 78 percent of the population is now living in poverty, families face the choice between trying to help their children learn at home – while continually interrupted by power cuts – or sending them to school during a pandemic while the healthcare system is on its knees. More than 1.2 million children in Lebanon are not attending school — and heartbreakingly, 90 percent of Syrian refugees there, whose education was originally disrupted by displacement, are now out of school again.
As some children return to classrooms, SAT-7 ACADEMY is offering additional opportunities for learning and growth for Arabic-speakers who cannot. Children can now access four seasons of the primary education series My School on-demand on SAT-7’s new streaming platform, SAT-7 PLUS. The fifth season, which has been revamped to most effectively support the most vulnerable children, is currently in production, and in the meantime, My School’s teachers are streaming live lessons every week on social media.
In addition to My School, SAT-7 ACADEMY will now launch a daily educational segment on Facebook. This will offer videos including Coaching for Youth, a youth version of Expert Advice, a popular program that shares wellbeing information from professionals across many disciplines. A second segment will guide children through arts and crafts activities along with caring for the environment, while Rhythm and Melody Special will deliver music therapy.
On SAT-7’s Arabic satellite channels, as well as social media, SAT-7 ACADEMY has just launched the third season of Follow Up, a program that helps parents support children in their education. This season offers a new format, with competitions and challenges between children from different schools on the topics of the environment, robotics, writing, and theatre. Clips and discussion help viewers learn the content at home and take inspiration from the challenges.
Children have often shared the difference SAT-7 ACADEMY makes to them. Renalda, a refugee mother from Iraq, recently shared how My School helped her daughter keep up despite years of missed schooling. And Gameela from Lebanon said:
“All the programs are wonderful! I learned how to spell from you. I always make mistakes in division problems, but when I watched the maths lessons I learned how to solve them. I didn’t know how to write in French before, but now I do. Thank you.”
SAT-7’s other channels are also raising awareness of educational issues and supporting children. Programs for adults on both SAT-7 TÜRK and the Persian-language channel SAT-7 PARS have recently addressed issues of literacy, inequalities in education, and struggles with remote learning. Meanwhile, the Turkish children’s and youth programs Mini City and Turning Point offer activities and discussion that help viewers children and young people develop problem-solving skills, responsibility, self-awareness, and emotional regulation. These skills help children in making the most of the educational opportunities they have. Similarly, children’s programs on the Persian-language channel SAT-7 PARS support children emotionally through difficult times.
“It is very important for us to contribute to raising awareness of the importance of literacy in our country,” explains Gülsüm I., Deputy Executive Director of SAT-7 TÜRK. “Children and young people are the next generation that we hope will lead Turkey to a better future.”