While UK schools reported some 80 to 100 per cent of pupils returning to the classroom last week1, SAT-7 is prioritising the 15 million children in the Middle East and North Africa who are denied schooling by poverty, displacement or conflict.
COVID-19 in the region has pushed even more people into poverty, putting more children at risk of losing out on schooling, and the 4 August explosion in Beirut damaged or destroyed 120 Lebanese schools, adding another 55,000 children to the numbers.
“SAT-7 must do its part to make sure these millions of children do not miss out on education. And we are in the perfect position as a trusted media ministry to do so,” said SAT-7 ACADEMY Brand Manager, Juliana Sfeir.
Since COVID-19 lockdowns across the Arab world began, the extensive televised and online education programming and support offered by SAT-7’s education stream, SAT-7 ACADEMY, has seen a huge increase in demand. Calls, messages and comments to the SAT-7 ACADEMY’s Audience Relations Department increased 4,000 per cent. Social media engagement soared from 800 to 3,000 messages a day.
SAT-7’s daily My School programmes, that cover core primary education subjects, have provided stability and encouragement for over a million2 children and families. Supplementary tuition on Facebook Live was offered by the stream’s teachers and a new “language medley” of Arabic, English and French lessons has just launched on the same platform.
Based in Beirut herself, Sfeir said, “Imagine you are a child in Beirut. Once you went to a school in a city known as an educational and cultural capital. Then your school was closed by COVID-19. As Lebanon fell apart around you and your family was plunged into poverty, you tried to keep up with work. Then came the explosion and your school is destroyed. Where will you turn now?”
SAT-7 ACADEMY has been the answer to this question for viewers right across the Arabic speaking world:
“I didn’t know much French before,” wrote one young learner. “Thanks to Madame Carole, I started to learn a little bit and with every episode I’m improving. I won’t forget what you’ve done for me!”
“Special thanks to Teacher Grace because she has helped me learn the English language through TV,” said a viewer from Morocco.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus threat and the possibility of a second lockdown, SAT-7 is already planning further learning support, including content for parents whose children have special education needs such as dyspraxia, dysphasia, and autism.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus threat and the possibility of a second lockdown, SAT-7 is already planning further learning support. The second series of Follow Up will help parents whose children have special educational needs such as dyspraxia, dysphasia, and autism.
Meanwhile, SAT-7 launched “For Beirut…” a prayer campaign and appeal following the blast, which has so far raised nearly £70,000 from UK supporters for its work in the city and surrounding region.
- The I Newspaper 4 September 2020
- In the year 2017-18 some 2.8 million children and 5.8 million adults watched SAT-7 ACADEMY There were 1.5 million viewers for
SAT-7’s core educational programme, My School.
Juliana Sfeir and George Makeen explain the aims of SAT-7 ACADEMY’s holistic education programmes.