Reflections on International Literacy Day: Mr Mwape Meki, Head teacher of Manyando Community School, Kitwe

Mr Mwape Meki reflects on the importance of taking learning outside of the classroom during the Covid 19 crisis, and explains why radio and television can make a wide-reaching impact across Zambia.

Mr Mwape Meki Reflections International Literacy Day
Mr Mwape Meki, Head teacher, Manyando Community School, Kitwe

Like any crisis, the Covid 19 crisis has had negative effects on the education sector in general and the teachers/educators in particular. Educators have been found to be looking at ways to effectively impart literacy skills in the learners. Some with resources have turned to e-learning which is only available to a certain ‘class’ of learners. This is mostly done in private schools as learners have access to smart phones, tablets and computers.

Teachers with little or no computer skills have struggled to put up an e-learning topic as they can’t fully use the equipment later on effectively express themselves.

From this crisis, it is imperative that all teachers are imparted with ICT skills. As a matter of urgency the government and other stakeholders should ensure that every graduating teacher has ICT skills. Parents should also take interest in basic ICT skills so as to be helping the children study at home.

The Book Bus hosts bi-weekly storytime sessions on Radio Icengelo, Kitwe.

Radio and television is also one platform which could be used by the educators to impart literacy skills in the learners. Radio lessons will transcend television lessons as it will even reach remote areas and also more people have access to radios than television sets. Educators would in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders to buy airtime on radio and offer lessons. This should be consistent programs with well defined goals and objectives. It could be done through grades or age groups.

The time of learning only being in a classroom are gone and teachers have to adapt to the new normal but for them to effectively execute their duties they will need help from all the stakeholders.

– Mr Mwape Meki, Head teacher, Manyando Community School, Kitwe

The Book Bus provides free storytime sessions on Radio Icengelo, Kitwe. The sessions, available in English and Bemba, aim to nurture a love of reading, equipping children with literary skills even as Covid 19 forces classrooms to shut. Tune in for stories in English on Fridays at 13:30 GMT and in Bemba on Sundays at 18:15 GMT.