Officials fear children could become COVID-19 carriers and infect their families.
Distance learning will begin for more than 30 million Mexican school children on August 24, but a return to classrooms will remain an uncertain goal, Mexico’s Education Minister announced today. Moctezuma said with the help of teachers and families, children will continue with their education.
Minister Esteban Moctezuma Barragán and executives from the country’s largest television networks presented a plan to put educational instruction on television. Moctezuma said that risks to in-person education are too high. Officials fear children could become COVID-19 carriers, infecting relatives at home.
In cases of multiple children at different grade levels in a home, Moctezuma said programming would try to take this into account and that classes would be repeated at multiple time slots.
The government signed a contract with four TV broadcasters: Televisa, TV Azteca, Grupo Imagen, and Grupo Multimedios. They will provide education to 30 million children.
Education Minister Esteban Moctezuma has announced the new schedules and TV channels where authorities will broadcast classes.
The classes will be broadcasted from 7:30 am to 11:00 pm. The classes will be repeated, and there won’t be commercial or political ads during the broadcast.
Three TV channels will focus on basic education, and two others on higher education.
TV channels Canal Once, Televisa, TV Azteca, Ingenio TV, Imagen Televisión, among others, will broadcast basic education classes. On the other hand, channels like Ingenio TV, Milenio, and others will broadcast high school classes.
The government will also use radio programs to reach kids with no TV or internet, the majority of which the government says live in remote indigenous communities.
"There is no precedent for something this big," said Rodolfo Lara Ponte, who runs the radio education program during the pandemic.
"We have planned to have 640 programs, across 18 radio stations in 15 states of the country," he said, adding many are recorded in indigenous languages unique to different regions.
For now, both the TV and radio programs will run through December but everything is subject to change based on how the pandemic plays out here over the next several months.
Government officials overseeing the program uniformly say the goal is to get kids back in the classroom as soon as possible, but for now, they say they're doing their best.
"It was a tough decision not to reopen schools," said Maria Meléndez, the ministry's Director of Curriculum Development. "But by doing the TV and radio classes, that means not letting the education gap get wider."
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