THE ROLE OF TELEVISION AS AN EDUCATIONAL MEDIUM IN EMPOWERING RURAL STUDENTS IN SRI LANKA DURING COVID 19 PANDEMIC
The online learning and media-based learning have been introduced as alternative solutions to the education sector at the local and international levels in the context of Covid-19. Therefore, “Guru Gedara” (Teacher’s house) Television (TV) programme was mainly introduced to the students who do not have the internet access to provide formal education during Covid 19 pandemic in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the main purpose of the study is to examine the role of television in empowering rural school students in Sri Lanka. The FGDs were conducted with 36 students in Billewa Vidyalaya (School) in Anuradhapura District. The personal interviews were conducted with five key people in the same geographical area (purposive sampling). The qualitative data were thematically analyzed. Uses and Gratifications theory was used to examine the role of TV as an educational media in empowering rural school students. The results showed that television is an effective educational medium among rural school students during Covid-19 pandemic. There are also opportunities and challenges of using TV as an alternative educational tool during the pandemic. It is important to develop the ICT and social infrastructure in the rural areas to provide the ICT access to the rural communities. Combining the TV, radio and online platforms is also another option to empower rural students with formal education.
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