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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 Million by January

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid