Middle East (SAT-7) — [EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an article posted from SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa. Click here to learn more about this organization’s work in the MENA region.]
On-Air school launched to enable displaced Syrian and Iraqi children whose education has been disrupted by conflict to start learning again as they watch the SAT-7 KIDS satellite TV channel.
Education is a desperate need for refugee children in the Middle East, as opportunities for schooling are often scarce. UN Global Education Envoy Gordon Brown highlighted this when he called for a multi-million dollar emergency fund for education to give refugee children “the hope and opportunity it provides” and prevent future wars.
Because many displaced children–even children in refugee camps–are still able to watch television, SAT-7 KIDS is broadcasting a program called My School five days a week. The presenters in this 90-minute block teach young viewers core curriculum subjects such as Arabic, English, and Math.
“My School is a unique opportunity to enable children to keep learning even though they don’t have a real school they can attend. For us, as a broadcaster, it is a great privilege to be able to help such displaced and refugee children continue with their education, in a different way: through watching television,” says Rita Elmounayer, Executive Director of SAT-7 KIDS and SAT-7 ARABIC.
“In providing education to this lost generation of refugees–especially those from Syria and Iraq, we are investing not just in their future but in the future of the Arab World. Teaching them to read and write is giving them the possibility to continue learning, be exposed to different points of view, maybe find a job later, and ultimately to help shape society and make a positive difference in the Arab World of tomorrow. It is a great blessing to take the lead in a project like this,” says Elmounayer.
Four- to seven year-old children
My School is aimed at four- to seven-year-olds but will also be helpful for older children who have missed out on school. Initially, it is a 90-minute program each weekday with three different teachers. The on-air school’s curriculum has been planned with help from Heart for Lebanon, an NGO that works closely with displaced children and runs a school in a refugee camp.
Children can complete online tests
The teachers presenting the program are qualified educators and experts in teaching children living in difficult circumstances, and their lessons will be engaging and exciting. Viewers will be encouraged to take part in competitions, quizzes, and educational games. The children will also be able to complete online tests to measure their progress, and the production-team plans to work with Heart for Lebanon to interact directly with children living in some of the refugee camps.
The scale of the need for education among refugee children in the Middle East is huge. Nearly half of the more than 3 million registered Syrian refugees are under 18, and there are an additional 3-4 million internally displaced children in Syria and Iraq.
In My School, there are three teachers. Grace Najjar is the English teacher.
Children from all backgrounds in the Middle East and North Africa can benefit from the teaching presented in this classroom on their TV.