In the early 19th century, radio was used as a medium for mass communication over cities and villages, where the reach of the internet was challenging. Despite the widespread use of other communication platforms and the advent of technology, especially in the field of education, radio education still plays a pivotal role in distance education. Radio use in distance education has proved its worth in developed countries. Still, it has also gained equal traction in developing countries, especially over the last two easy. Countries like India, Thailand, Columbia, Mexico, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Kenya, Sri Lank, South Korea, and many more are a part of this educational revolution.
- In Thailand, radio education is used solely to teach mathematics to students
- In India, radio and mass education is the epitome of rural development
- In Nigeria, the radio educational system is employed in rural areas to impart agricultural knowledge.
- In Sri Lanka, it is a source of education for health and family planning.
Community Radio in Developing Countries
Community radio education is a widespread mass education that has been gaining traction in recent years. Also called a ‘non-profit’ radio service, it is often designed to operate on a small scale and deliver the benefits of education through radio for a community – either a physical community or any community of interest. Some of the characteristics of these educational systems are:
- They are run for the benefit of a community rather than for profit.
- They are generally owned by the community seeking to serve the public and impart the necessary education
- They provide community participation in different fields of education, like programming and management.
Since 1947, many developed and developing countries have been part of this community radio education, which mainly emphasizes rural development. It started as a wave of educational reformation in Colombia and gained enough success to spread across different developing countries like Bolivia. Soon, they also started replacing it as a radical alternative for government institutions.
Community radio education is one of the most diverse forms of teaching methods the world has witnessed to date, especially in Africa. They extend from remote African deserts to urban music stations and slums. For example, Thailand is home to nearly 5,000 community radio stations, one of the largest in the Asian continent.
It is a no-brainer that radio, as a mass communication medium, has evolved over the years by introducing different kinds of radios like internet radio, community radio, and narrowcast. The primary goal of radio education in developing countries is to expand the low-cost reach of education through various sections of society. In the next few years, interactive radios are expected to bloom in the educational field, which will help in communication between the listener and the teacher through the radio education process.