The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most schools in Africa and other parts of the globe to temporarily shut down for safety reasons. During these unprecedented times, some educational institutions have had to innovate by switching to online classes in a quest to ensure students at home are still able to learn.
This period has also seen a significant rise in edtech, with both old and new platforms becoming indispensable tools for learning. In Ghana, Joy Learning, an educational TV channel that was set up in 2019 exclusively for High School students, has grown in popularity, not just among students in the country, but outside of it.
A free-to-air and not-for profit educational TV channel, Joy Learning has become a critical source of learning for senior high school (SHS) pupils across the West African sub-region while schools have been closed to combat the spread of COVID-19.
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“While this channel was originally created to give Ghanaian SHS students access to educational content while they were away from school – as a result of the double-track system – it has recently proven useful to all English-speaking West African countries who follow the West Africa Examination Council curriculum,” Abdulai Awudu, General Manager of Joy Learning disclosed.
The channel can be accessed by TV viewers throughout the sub-region as part of the free-to-air (FTA) direct-to-home (DTH) MultiTV platform on SES’s Astra-2F, by using a standard decoder or TV with built-in DTH tuner.
The Joy Learning channel, which was officially launched on 30 December 2019, was part of a corporate social responsibility initiative undertaken by the Multimedia Group (MGL) through its Educare Foundation, in partnership with e-learning platform Wolo TV; service provider K-Net; and SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions. SES provides the satellite capacity and broadcast services; K-Net provides local backhaul and teleport services; Wolo creates and supplies the educational content; and MGL runs the channel.
“By coming together to offer a free educational channel to SHS students, the partners in this venture have been able to address not only some of the challenges posed by the implementation of the Free SHS Education Policy in Ghana, but also some of the educational challenges brought about by the indefinite closure of schools across the country amid the COVID-19 crisis,” Theodore Asampong, General Manager of Media Platforms at SES Video, says.
“The Ghana SHS double track system means that while some kids are in school, others are at home waiting their turn for two months or so,” says Joe Anim from Wolo TV. “The idea behind the Joy Learning channel was to allow those at home to keep up with their studies by broadcasting well-organised and world-class educational content that they could access for free on a daily basis.”
The Joy Learning channel’s wide reach is driven by SES’s prime orbital position at 28.2 degrees East, which reaches 97% of all satellite TV homes in Ghana. From that orbital slot, SES hosts Multi TV, the FTA (Free-to-Air) platform that provides viewers free access to over 100 TV channels, including the Joy Learning channel, while giving broadcasters access to the highest reach in West Africa.
“While the intention was to have a direct positive impact on the lives of millions of young people, thereby contributing to the future development of the country, we are thrilled that our satellite TV platform has enabled access to quality education for young people across the broader sub-region, who are currently unable to attend school as a result of the COVID-19 crisis,” says Asampong.