Abstract: With a burgeoning out‐of‐school population and illiteracy rate, the situation of protracted conflict and crises fuelled by the Boko‐Haram insurgency further exacerbates educational inequality for children in northern Nigeria. The Covid‐19 pandemic further deepened the “educational poverty” experienced there. This article focuses on data generated around ACE radio school, an initiative to mitigate the impact of Covid‐19‐related school closures in northern Nigeria. The initiative targeted young learners using radio as a medium to support their continued learning remotely in numeracy, literacy, sciences, and civics education. Daily learning activities were broadcasted in the local Hausa language, supported through “listening groups” that engaged local learning facilitators in the communities. Despite the known existing barriers that have been identified to hinder access to quality education in the region, including poverty, religion, socio‐cultural factors, and protracted conflict situations, our interviews revealed that parents were committed to supporting their children’s attendance at listening groups, due to the use of their mother tongue as a mode of instruction. Drawing on a conversational learning approach, we argue that understanding local conditions and adopting local solutions, such as the radio lessons delivered in these children’s mother tongue, have implications for enhancing improved learner outcomes in marginalised contexts.
Keywords: alternative education; Covid‐19; education inclusion; girls’ education; northern Nigeria; radio school; vulnerable communities