UNICEF committed to strengthen digital and online learning of ‘Eskola Ba Uma’ program

UNICEF committed to strengthen digital and online learning of ‘Eskola Ba Uma’ program

UNICEF's logo

DILI, 07 june 2021 (TATOLI) – The UNICEF in Timor-Leste was committed to strengthen the ‘Eskola Ba Uma’ program to ensure all children continue learning during the schools’ closures due to COVID-19.

The UNICEF representative in Timor-Leste, Bilal Aurang Zeb Durrani informed that The Eskola Ba Uma program was supported by the global program for education, saying it was a global initiative.

“As we know, schools have been closed since last year which has a very negative impact on the studies of children. So, last year, only six days after the closure of schools for the first time, we supported the  Ministry of Education in launching the country’s first online program,” The UNICEF representative in Timor-Leste, Bilal Aurang Zeb Durrani told media after a meeting with the President of the Republic, Francisco Guterres ‘Lu Olo’ at the Presidential Palace, in Dili, today.

Durrani said currently the Eskola Ba Uma program has produced 83 TV episodes and had been broadcasted in RTTL and GMN TV, saying UNICEF and the Education Ministry were also converting these TV episodes into radio programs.

“We have a youtube channel and we also have produced an app which does not require the internet connection for school materials,” Durani said.

“We are also producing a parenting package which will facilitate the parents to support the learning of children at home.

“We are producing printed materials, which students can use at home. In addition, we are also producing guidance for teachers on how to support children in using these printed materials.

Durrani said students also could use all of the produced learning materials when they are going back to school after COVID-19.

“We hope that even after COVID-19 the students will be able to use these materials, and I requested his exigency’s support and making sure that all of these learning materials become part of the curriculum,” said Durrani.

He said to keep children learning during this difficult time, more learning materials were being produced and would be distributed through the Ministry of Education and through the Teacher Training Centers.

Regarding the budget for the implementation of the program, Durrani said the Eskola Ba Uma program was part of the bigger program of US$3.5 million by UNICEF and other UN agencies.

According to a survey that was done by the Ministry of Education recently, 60 percent of the students were using the Eskola Ba Uma, at least once a day, he said.

“We found out that 82 percent of the respondents of the survey said that the Eskola Ba Uma program was very useful for Home Learning Activities,” said Durrani.

He said despite the efforts that had been made by both UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, there were still difficulties and challenges that needed to be addressed.

Apart from the positive developments that had been made, he said: “We still have challenges around internet connectivity, a lot of families do not have electricity a lot of times, and sometimes they don’t have a TV.

Previously, the UN Representative in Timor-Leste, Roy Trivedy said that the Eskola ba Uma was a very good initiative, which more work needed to be done: “Not every family has a computer or television at home and we know that internet facilities in Timor-Leste are not that great. So, it requires a lot of things to work together to fill the gap of education.

Durani emphasized that UNICEF and the Ministry of Education were currently working on finding ways and different approaches to address the challenges that were currently facing many children with learning at home.

“We are creating awareness about this program, so you would see a lot of billboards around the city. We will also request the media to create awareness for children to know that we have the ‘Eskola Ba Uma’ program that they can access. We are also working on how to provide the internet to different schools. Of course, it’s a long-term goal and it’s a challenge that we are trying to address,” said Durrani.

The Eskola Ba Uma initiative was targeted to reach 350,000 children across the country.

According to UNICEF data, around 400,000 children registered in schools have been affected by school closures.

In addition, around 48,000 children are out of school due to the tendency of some parents to undervalue the importance of education and so on.

During his meeting with the President of the Republic, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, Durrani said that LuOlo showed his support to the work of UNICEF in Timor-Leste, across a number of areas.

“I am very happy and delighted to share that His Excellency, President of the Republic, shared all the support to UNICEF mandate in TL, including for health, education, for water, and sanitation, for nutrition, and also for child protection.

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Rafy Belo


Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!