Representational image (iStock)

BANGLADESH’S initiative to use a national TV channel for remote learning in order to mitigate the disruption caused to students by the pandemic lockdown has won praise from an NGO.

In a country where internet penetration is low, the government introduced remote classes on its national television from the early days of lockdown last year.

Short-duration classes are regularly aired for students from pre-primary to 10th grade and children have to submit their homework to schools after their reopening.

With only 56 per cent of the population having access to television, the remote learning module was also introduced on the radio to reach a larger number of children, with assistance from the United Nations.

While Unicef recognised the government’s initiative saying “students in Bangladesh are adjusting to remote learning via national television”, Dutch NGO KidsRights hailed the efforts in its latest annual survey unveiled on Thursday (3).

It also praised Belgium and Sweden for trying to keep schools open despite Covid-19 to maintain the continuity of children’s learning process.

KidsRights’ survey took a grim note of the impact of the pandemic worldwide, saying “young people risked a “generational catastrophe” if governments do not act.

Millions of children have missed out on education because of Covid-19 restrictions and there will be a long-term impact in terms of their physical and mental health, the NGO said as it launched its annual ranking.

It lists Iceland, Switzerland and Finland as best for children’s rights and Chad, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone as the worst, out of a total of 182 countries.

Marc Dulleart, founder and chairman of KidsRights, said the effects of the pandemic on children had “unfortunately exceeded our predictions at the outset last year”.

“Apart from patients of the coronavirus, children have been hardest hit, not directly by the virus itself, but fundamentally failed through the deferred actions of governments around the world,” he said.

“Educational recovery is the key to avoiding generational catastrophe,” Dulleart added.

The group said schools for more than 168 million children have been closed for almost a full year, with one in three children worldwide unable to access remote learning while their schools were shut.