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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid