New service to target 21 million out of school or at risk of dropping out
SAT-7 is preparing to introduce an educational channel that will help meet the desperate need for improved schooling in the MENA region. It is scheduled to air in summer 2017 with special programmes for children, parents and teachers.
Unrest and war across the Middle East and North Africa have caused a crisis in child education. The statistics are staggering. One in every four children and young adolescents (more than 21 million) in the region are either out of school or at risk of dropping out (UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015).
SAT-7 is concerned about this generation becoming “lost” because they never had the opportunity to go to school. That’s why last year we started broadcasting My School, an educational programme for displaced children.
But the education issues in the Arab world are much wider than the refugee crisis and much deeper than the need to read and write.
Dr Terence Ascott, SAT-7’s founder and CEO, said: “Children need to be taught to think for themselves and be equipped and encouraged to question, to be creative and to learn basic life skills.
“We must also address the needs and attitudes of parents and poorly trained teachers, most of whom have not themselves experienced education beyond rote learning.”
The new channel aims to inspire life-long learning across the Arab world. The on-air classes will not only offer an academic education but also promote critical and analytical thinking and acceptance of other cultures and people, in an effort to help build better communities.
Rita Elmounayer, SAT-7’s Chief Channels and Communication Officer, said, “If we don’t invest in education to do something good and offer an education based on Christian and internationally recognised values, somebody else will invest in education to do something bad, to teach other values with a different agenda.”
Mightier than the sword
Rita speaks from experience. She grew up during the devastating Lebanese civil war and her school was often closed because of shelling. Nevertheless, Rita’s father knew the importance of education, telling her and her sister: “I know that we are not rich and that you would like to have nice things. I cannot give you a house, land or money, but I promise to give you a good education. It is a weapon for a better future for you!”
Rita said: “Everything that happened has made me the person that I am today; with a passion and love for the people of this region, and a drive to offer them hope for a better future.”
Do the maths
- 13 million children of the MENA region receive no schooling. (UNICEF)
- Almost six million Syrian and Iraqi children are out of school as a result of conflict (UNICEF)