Due to wars and terrorism, millions of displaced Middle Eastern children have completely lost out on education. However, SAT-7 ACADEMY, a new educational news channel, will bring 24/7 educational access to Syrian children and others in the Middle East.
A new 24/7 educational channel that will teach displaced and impoverished children from Syria and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will start broadcasting this summer. The SAT-7 ACADEMY will help children learn internationally recognized values and address the problem of lack of education in the region, which is creating a “lost generation.”
The new service is being launched by SAT-7 Education and Development, organized in 2016 as a part of SAT-7 International to leverage decades of broadcast experience and audience acceptance to advance educational and developmental initiatives. It will provide education for millions of children displaced by conflict in Syria and other nations.
Even in areas not directly affected by unrest, many children aren’t in school because of poverty or because they are female. The United Nations Development Program lists inadequate education as a key factor holding back the Arab World. More than 21 million Arabic-speaking children (one in five) are at risk of missing out on an education, while 13 million are out of school altogether.
“We are talking about audience sizes in the millions,” SAT-7 Chief Executive Officer Dr. Terence Ascott says of the new channel. “But even if we were only able to impact the lives of a few thousand children, it would be worth it. One viewer can grow up to be a real instrument of change in their society. One of these children could even be the future president of his or her country.”
SAT-7 ACADEMY aims to transform young lives: to bring children hope for their future; opportunities for work and further study; and the chance to participate, along with their teachers and parents, in positively transforming the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, educating children in modern viewpoints and perspectives can diffuse the appeal radical organizations hold for children from impoverished backgrounds.
Launched in 1996, the satellite broadcasting organization has brought quality programming in the Arabic, Farsi and Turkish languages to more than 15 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa. Research in 15 MENA countries shows that television — especially satellite TV — is the most used and trusted source of information.
Research by a French-based communications company in 2014 revealed that nine in 10 residents prefer satellite reception for both pay-TV and free-to-air viewing. Television viewing is almost dominant among Syrians in the country and those who have fled to other countries.
Many Syrian refugees are already watching SAT-7’s educational program, My School, which is broadcast on the SAT-7 KIDS channel five days a week. According to audience research carried out by the well-known research company, IPSOS, last year in 10 Arab countries more than 1.3 million children watched My School daily, or at least weekly. Since millions cannot attend school in their host countries, the SAT-7 ACADEMY will provide a life-changing opportunity for many children, parents and teachers.
“If we do not invest in education that teaches not only knowledge but tolerance, based on internationally recognized values, others will invest in teaching conflicting values,” says Rita Elmounayer, SAT-7’s deputy chief executive officer. “We have seen the result of that — radicalism, extremism and insurgency. We need to act now to prevent this generation from becoming truly ‘lost.'”
For more information about SAT-7 ACADEMY, go to www.sat7education.org