News / Africa

Math Program Adds Up for Kids

Child in Zomba, Malawi is enrolled in Numeracy Boost program.Child in Zomba, Malawi is enrolled in Numeracy Boost program.
x
Child in Zomba, Malawi is enrolled in Numeracy Boost program.
Child in Zomba, Malawi is enrolled in Numeracy Boost program.
Joe DeCapua
A pilot project is being launched in Malawi and Bangladesh to teach kids that math is fun and that it matters. Save the Children calls it the Numeracy Boost program.

Former U.S. public school teacher Shirin Lutfeali helped plan Numeracy Boost, which she said is aimed at young children having difficulty even with simple math, like those in Malawi.

“We found that the basic math skills were just not where we thought they would be. It really surprised us that in the 4th grade group that we were working with in Malawi only 10 percent of these 4th graders could solve a really simple, basic subtraction problem – 18 take away 7 is what the problem was. And it was very shocking for us to see that,” she said.

There’s no single reason why the kids' math skills are not adding up.

De Capua report on Numeracy Boost
De Capua report on Numeracy Boosti
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

“I think there are a lot of issues. Many of them are related to class size. Some of them are related to teacher training opportunities for learning about various methods of good practice in the classroom. So, there’s a variety of reasons. I don’t think there’s one specific reason out there,” she said.

Numeracy Boost involves students, teachers and the local community.

“At the student level, we start off by measuring what the kids already know, so that we can help them reach the math goals that they need to reach. With the teachers, we train them and give them support and resources so that they can excel in the classroom as teachers. We know that math isn’t just a subject that kids learn about in school; it’s all around them and it is part of their daily lives. We involve the entire community in exploring how math is part of their daily lives,” Lutfeali said.

For example, the project includes community math days, where math is used in cooking or going to the market. Math camps are also held where the kids take part in fun activities.

Lutfeali gave an example of an innovative way a Bangladeshi teacher taught his students.

“The teacher was teaching second grade division, and he brought in some leaves from a mango tree that was just outside of the classroom, and then he distributed the leaves amongst the children to teach them the concept of division. And there was a huge flurry of excitement in the classroom. Kids were talking to each other, working together in groups. And these are the kind of things we’re trying to promote with our numeracy work,” she said.

The Save the Children program has the support of parents.

She said, “Parents, especially in the community, all talk about how they want their children to be mathematicians, scientists. And they all talk about how important it is for kids to have these strong math skills. In one of the classrooms I was in, a small girl—a third grader—said she wanted to be a doctor. And so I think all of these children are very eager to learn, to improve themselves. So I feel like it’s going to be an exciting project for them to get involved with.”

The eventual goal is to have the ministries of education take over the programs.

Save the Children has also launched a campaign called A World with No Math. It enlisted the aid various comedians to give examples of what life would be like without math. It hopes to get people taking about math and laughing about it, too.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid