“I was worried about my teachers and classmates. If the school closes for a more extended period, they may choose to leave us and go to another town. I love my teachers and my favorite subject is Somali. Even though learning was disrupted, I have not been discouraged. I am optimistic that my dream of becoming a teacher will come true” says Sadiq*, grade 2 student (name has been modified due to children protection safeguards).
Nine-year-old Sadiq lives with his family in Mogadishu where he attends one of the schools supported by GPE in Somalia. In early March 2020, when the government closed schools to curb the spread of COVID-19, Sadiq was afraid that his education would be interrupted, jeopardizing his dreams of becoming a teacher.
However, a few weeks after the closure of schools, Sadiq was excited to find out that he could continue learning from home through an online learning platform launched by the government with GPE’s support. The online platform is hosted and managed by the Ministry of Education to ensure students from grades 1 to 8 in four federal member states and Banadir could still have access to lessons.
Sadiq’s father helped him access the online portal at home, proving the key role parents play in supporting their children’s learning. To complement the lessons from the portal, Sadiq also followed classes with the help of a textbook and by listening to recorded lessons from his father’s phone.
While Sadiq preferred being in the classroom and missed seeing his friends and teachers, the GPE-supported remote learning program allowed him to continue to focus on his studies.
The portal also offers audio lessons via podcast to support children who only have low internet bandwidth access at home. In addition to supporting the continuity of education during the initial wave of school closures in Somalia, the platform hosts child protection audio clips to ensure children are safe from online exploitation.