When schools in Sierra Leone closed last March, the Government was more ready than many to respond. With the school closures due to the Ebola epidemic all too recent a memory, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education acted fast to mobilise a national distance learning programme via radio.

A number of non-state organisations supported this effort providing content for the broadcast, funding the broadcast, and supporting its use with SMS reminders.

But radio is a one-way media, and most students were missing interaction with teachers which is important to reinforce their learning.

To increase interactivity, the Government included a section of the broadcast where children could call-in with questions.

In addition, Rising Academies, a private school operator in Sierra Leone which had experience providing education to children during the Ebola epidemic, suggested that the radio broadcast be supplemented with teacher phone tutorials.

They also proposed that the intervention be evaluated for impact.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 27, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.