Children watching Sesame Street in Kosovo more likely to respect other ethnicities: Study

MUMBAI: The local adaptation of Sesame Street in Kosovo, Rruga Sesam (Albanian language) and Ulica Sezam (Serbian language) is making a significant impact on how children view other ethnicities in their communities, their literacy and socio-cultural knowledge.

Children who watched the show were 74 per cent more likely to demonstrate positive attitude towards children from different ethnic backgrounds than those who didn‘t, according to a recent study.

The test also concluded that children who viewed the series were more likely to express a willingness to interact with children of a different race/ethnicity.

Fluent Public Opinion & Market Research (New York), in collaboration with SMMRI (Kosovo) and Sesame Workshop, conducted a randomized controlled trial of 536 five-to-six-year-old children across different demographic groups in Kosovo. Over a six week period, half viewed the series while the rest did not.

The researchers tested children’s pre and post exposure learning on three of the curricular areas presented in the program. These areas included respect and understanding, math, and socio-emotional learning.

Among five-year-olds, children who viewed the series could recite more new words in languages other than their own than those that did not.

Says Sesame Workshop’s VP international research and outreach Dr Charlotte Cole, “We are pleased that through Rruga Sesam/Ulica Sezam we are helping to provide a critical foundation for building cognitive skills and promoting cultural values in children at a young age.The empirical evidence documented in this study demonstrates that television can encourage respect and provide a window of understanding that can have a marked effect on children’s lives. We are both thrilled and humbled to know our work is making a positive difference.”

Rruga Sesam and Ulica Sezam airs throughout Kosovo on RTK, and is also broadcast regionally by two Serbian language broadcasters, TV Most Zvecan and TV Herc Strpce.

Rruga Sesam and Ulica Sezam series is produced by Sesame Workshop, in collaboration with local partner CMB.

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