About one year after winning the Hoso Bunka Foundation Prize in the TV Proposal Division of Japan Prize 2014, “Meerkat’s Adventure” was completed with an outstanding success. The educational program was screened during the competition week of Japan Prize 2015 (October 15~22) in Tokyo, where we had an opportunity to speak with Ms. Glynis Beukes-Kapa (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation), producer of the prize-winning program. Here is what she has to say about her team’s achievement.
-- First of all, please tell us about the broadcast schedule of the program. Also, when you were in the planning stage last year, you indicated a wish to make a DVD version as well. How did it go?
The program went out for the first time at 15:30 on October 14, 2015 on Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC1). The repeat of the program went out at 8:00AM on October 17.
Our school will close on November 27 this year (2015) for summer holidays, and the children will start a new grade or go to school for the first time on January 14, 2016. So as to the next and following broadcast opportunities, we plan to start in March 2016 when the young ones have familiarized themselves with their new school environment.
We have also made a DVD, and went to schools to see how children reacted during the program and what we tried to aim for with the program was actually achieved. NBC is very keen on setting up a distribution arm with the Ministry of Education to ensure that we reach more pre-primary schools in all 14 regions of Namibia.
-- How did the children react when they watched your program?
At first, the children were shy because at school they are taught to listen quietly and only answer when spoken to. But as the program progressed, they felt comfortable and responded to questions that Max was asking, as well as to the instructions on how to write an “M”. The great thing was to see the response they had to each segment in the program. Be it letters, numbers, colors or shapes.
When it came to the songs, they would sing along to the songs that they knew from their own school. But when it was a song that they have never heard before, they would listen the first time. The second time, the kids would sing the verse. They would try and sing along, and by the third time, the kids would loudly sing along. That showed us once again how important repetition is to this age group of 3-6 years.
-- How did the prize money awarded by the HBF support you to produce the program?
The fund for production awarded by the HBF had a big financial implications to us. We were able to produce a product that we could show to possible sponsors, and show Max the main character to children to make sure that we had the right look and feel for the program before we spent the hours and days to complete the program. Now that we have delivered the program, and more people were able to give their comments and advice on how we can improve on the program to make it much better and will provide the Namibian children with a quality learning product.
Thank you once again for this opportunity the Hoso Bunka Foundation has given us to produce this wonderful program in Namibia to help with their rudimentary education skills, specifically when it comes to English and being able to learn from their peers in their own country. I feel the pride of watching something we produced for our children in Namibia.
Thank you very much.
Ms. Kapa appeared on “Newsroom Tokyo ,” a TV news program broadcast on NHK World, NHK’s international broadcasting service in English, as a guest on October 23, 2015. To see the show, please visit the following website.