Last month, the Bangladeshi government announced their decision to suspend all schools to limit the spread of COVID-19. Since the outbreak, the Ministry of Education has sought to leverage multiple modalities such as television, radio and the internet to offer remote learning to a broad range of students. Over the past week, policymakers have looked to incorporate the virtual Konnect platform into their pandemic response strategy.
In 2018, Bangladesh’s government launched the Konnect portal to provide youths with access to online learning materials as part of their Access to Information (A2I) scheme. During the current crisis, educators have used the platform to share pre-recorded video lessons in which local teachers deliver culturally relevant and curriculum-aligned content. Lessons often feature visual aids such as videos, simulations and diagrams. In a Grade 4 geography class, for instance, a teacher integrated a video simulation into their lesson to help students visualise the structure of the Earth. The government uploads all classes to the Konnect programme’s YouTube page before compiling materials on the platform. Students can use the portal’s filtering function to identify lessons relevant to their grade, subject and level of progress.
Despite the promise of high-quality online content, policymakers in low- and middle-income countries need to be wary of the equity implications of an immediate pivot to digital education. In Bangladesh, for example, only 15% of the population use the internet. In this context, the government’s adoption of alternative low-technology modes of education can help widen access to out-of-school learning.
For more information on low-technology education interventions see:
- The following blog post that explores the role of Interactive Radio Instruction in the COVID-19 education response
- The EdTech Hub’s article on how educational television can support learning in low-income contexts
Links and references
A complete list of references for this blog post is available in our evidence library: references for blog post on the Konnect platform.
a2i. (2020, April). a2i: Innovate for All (2129771:ZRG2DF5Z). https://a2i.gov.bd/
Konnect Portal. (2020a, April). Konnect- My School (2129771:ELVQVDSV). Konnect. http://konnect.edu.bd/my-school/
Konnect Portal. (2020b, April). কিশোর বাতায়ন—Konnect YouTube Channel (2129771:KXG3V4HZ). Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSdEG6ugXjX1DaOiZ8um6HA
Konnect Portal. (2020c, April). ভূ-অভ্যন্তরের গঠন ।। BGS ।। শ্রেণি নবম, অধ্যায় ৩য় ।। আমার ঘরে আমার স্কুল (2129771:Q44QJ9D5). http://konnect.edu.bd/my-school/10
McBurnie, C. (2020). The Role of Interactive Radio Instruction in the COVID-19 Education Response. Open Development & Education. https://opendeved.net/2020/04/08/the-role-of-interactive-radio-instruction-in-the-covid-19-education-response/
UNICEF. (2020, March 27). UNICEF scales up support to keep children learning, as COVID-19 forces schools to close (2129771:IZE9L2NN). https://www.unicef.org/bangladesh/en/press-releases/unicef-scales-support-keep-children-learning-covid-19-forces-schools-close
Watson, J. (2020). Learning through television in low-income contexts: Mitigating the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). The EdTech Hub. https://edtechhub.org/2020/03/31/learning-through-television-in-low-income-contexts-mitigating-the-impact-of-covid-19/
World Bank. (2020). Individuals using the Internet (% of population)—Bangladesh (2129771:7IC86YR7). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.ZS?locations=BD