Reaching Remote Students And Families in Pakistan Using Radio As a Response To COVID-19


Students, their parents and educators are feeling the extraordinary ripple effect of the novel coronavirus as schools shut down and quarantine methods are ordered amidst the public health emergency. In this series, we want to share best practices from our community and how our educators and innovators are managing school shutdowns, distance learning and other challenges around the world.. 

POWER99 Foundation, in collaboration with its partner organisation, The Communicators (Pvt.) Limited having a network of FM radios in Pakistan, is launching Broad Class – Listen to LearnParahi Caro-Na, a distance learning initiative for children to ensure continuity of educational processes at home during coronavirus pandemic. This would be a stop-gap solution for equal and quality learning opportunities for young children and families confined at home. The program will continue for the next three months and will cover all areas of the Islamabad Capital Territory in Pakistan.

“Parhai Caro-Na”, in Urdu meaning "Let's Learn!", is an emergency assistance intervention and also a pilot project with the hope to replicate it in other areas of the country where the school system had been devastated, and possibly to other countries in the region. This is a 12-week non-formal education program for children who are not able to attend normal school and are often in remote areas with limited to no internet access. The program believes in active and cooperative learning activities, listening exercises, speaking activities, riddles, sound games and role-playing with music and stories. The pedagogical techniques have been devised on social, linguistic, cognitive, and emotional contexts and the content of the program is socially and culturally relevant.

The families will use regular radio sets to receive the broadcast through radio transmission. The 45-minute lessons hope to address specific learning objectives and include a series of activities, poems & games, etc. Delivered by a consistent set of radio characters including a radio teacher & radio students, who will model the instruction & activities. 

POWER99 will also have weekly 30 minutes program for the communities for awareness on Coronavirus. The program will have key messages and actions for coronavirus prevention and control (created with renowned doctors), as well as lessons for children to lessen learning loneliness with the intention to help them and schools during this transition. These Radio programs will be implemented rapidly, providing high-quality education and continuity to children. 

POWER99 hopes to reach thousands of children, including those who cannot attend formal school and introduce them to learning through these radio lessons. 

We thank our community members like Fakhira Najib and the BroadClass Team for putting resources in the hands of students & families from marginalised communities without internet access. For more articles, innovations & resources, head to our Educator Toolkit especially designed to support educators & parents during this COVID-19 outbreak. 

Pukhraj Ranjan