With children out of school due to the Covid-19 crisis, RTE could provide a valuable public service by re-jigging its daytime TV schedule to become, in effect, a 'national school'.
chools themselves have already put some innovative measures in place and will continue to do so. Understandably, at second-level, these tend to focus on examination classes, third years and sixth years. A concern is that other students may struggle to maintain a shape and order to their learning over coming weeks. Daily 'school' broadcasts could be a great help.
It's also important to recognise that those who are already educationally disadvantaged are likely to be further marginalised by being out of school. All parents, especially those with limited resources, could benefit greatly from daily guidance on RTE TV, say, by an advisory panel of teachers.
The possibilities are endless. The 1982 report on educational broadcasting and distant memories of Telifís Scoile are worth revisiting. Imaginative producers and directors would, I imagine, be able to come up with a blend of engaging supports for parents and students. The Department of Education and Skills should also be interested.
Two quick examples may help. Films of historical or literary merit might be introduced by a panel - as with football coverage - suggesting what to look out for and then, afterwards, discussing what took place. Such panels would include teachers and students.
Secondly, devising an actual 'timetable' showing the range of supports for particular subjects would, over coming weeks and, I fear, months, build into an extended resource on RTE Player.
This is a great opportunity for a creative response by RTE in the area of educational broadcasting to this national crisis.
Dr Gerry Jeffers, Researcher and Lecturer, Education Department, Maynooth University