NATIONAL Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ) executive director Aaron Chansa says the Ministry of General Education’s initiative to introduce an educational channel on ZNBC for conducting lessons to pupils will be discriminatory because some rural dwellers have no access to TV.

Earlier this month, General Education Minister David Mabumba announced the roll-out of the educational TV channel during the current period when schools were indefinitely closed.

But while he welcomed the initiative, Chansa cautioned that the decision would suffer setbacks due to lack of access to TV sets by some pupils, compounded by the prolonged hours of load shedding for other learners, especially in rural areas.

He added that the TV packages would also be as they were likely to exclude rural children who lacked access to broadcast services.

“On face value, the announcement is progressive, welcome and must be supported. If well done, it will help to mitigate the colossal academic damage done by closure of learning institutions due to the Coronavirus. However, we are of a strong view that this TV initiative will only cater for less than 40 per cent of the population. Sadly, the majority of our people live in rural areas without TV sets and electrical power. And with TV educational programmes only, it would be discriminatory and extremely unfair to rural children who cannot access television services,” Chansa stated in a statement.

He added that the prolonged hours of load shedding would equally negatively impact learning.

“As if lack of TV sets is not bad enough, the increased electricity load shedding hours by Zesco will, without any doubt, disable the good initiative by the Ministry of General Education. We plead with Zesco to manage this load shedding better and help some of our young people continue learning in homes. NAQEZ further pleads with the Ministry of General Education to introduce educational programmes, using provincially-based radio stations and community radio stations, to cater for poor learners in villages. All children have a right to learn regardless of where they are,” stated Chansa.

“Lastly, but very important, we implore all school-going children in Zambia to resign from all destructive activities and get glued to books, TV and possibly radio stations for academic lessons; children hold the key to their own destinies.”