Community Radio in Bangladesh: Emergence of a new School of Open Non-formal Education (ONFE)
Bangladesh Open University (BOU) runs both formal and non-formal education (NFE) programmes using open and distance learning (ODL) mode where broadcast media (radio-TV) plays a vital role. BOU extensively uses electronic media for its 19 open-NFE (ONFE) programmes from the inception to provide information to mass people as a part of its awareness building activities. Radio has been very useful media because it is operationally low-cost and easily accessible; that’s why - open universities/distance education institutes in different countries have been using the community radio (CR) for ONFE with local dialects. The Ministry of Information, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh already approved 14 CR initiators for installation and operation of community radio in Bangladesh first time to provide livelihood related information to the rural communities in an understandable way on agriculture, education, health, disaster, women and child issues, market price, services, etc. It is reported that 13 out of 14 are from NGOs because they are very active in implementing the ONFE at the community level; only one license has been issued to Agriculture Information Services, a government body, in the name of “Krishi Radio”. Through issuing license for CR, government just opened the door of the third tier broadcasting in the country to spread the scope of the NFE through distance learning and NGOs will use broadcast media in an innovative way for implementing the NFE. This also created the opportunity for developing public-private partnership (PPP), say between BOU-NGO, model for distance learning and a platform of the alternative approach that is the ‘School of NFE’. This step of the broadcasting will be of great value for the BOU to use community radio for expanding ONFE from its Regional Resources Centres (RRCs) under PPP model with the local NGOs. This paper discusses these issues and finally recommend for the expansion of ONFE in the country using community radio as low-cost and effective media. // Paper ID: 95
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