Akshara Foundation partners with Karnataka govt in making Maths interesting for children

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According to ASER Report 2014, only 25.3% of children in third grade can do a simple two digit subtraction in India. The percentage of children in second grade who cannot recognize numbers up to 9 has increased over time, from 11.3% in 2009 to 19.5% in 2014.

And that’s not all. There are other trends which are quite worrying. The proportion of eight graders who could correctly do a three digit by one digit division was 68.3% in 2010, and has dropped to 44.1% in 2014. Among children of the fifth grade, the ability to do division stands at just 26.1% in 2014. In Karnataka alone, only 20.1 percent of fifth grade students in government schools can do simple divisions.

The trends are clear. Numeracy level among children is declining. Even if we boast of rising literacy levels in India, the quality of education has a fearsome downward trend. Having a language of its own which is different from the spoken word language, Math does instil fear among many children. However, in order to build a society where scientific and logical thinking are paramount, Mathematics does have a major role to play.

Taking stock of problem, Akshara Foundation has partnered up with the Karnataka government to support the Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA) meaning, Do Math Movement. Over the past fifteen years, Akshara Foundation has touched lives of over a million children in Karnataka, and helped in imparting creativity and innovation in education.

GKA is aimed at bridging learning gaps in Math among government primary school children in the fourth and fifth grades by using an activity based creative approach, peer learning and fun ideas. It takes a diversion from the rote application of mathematical procedures. In a public private partnership (PPP) model, Akshara Foundation is planning to support the idea and is working towards providing teaching and learning materials, capacity building of people and teachers, and assessment of children’s learning outcomes. According to Ashok Kamath, Chairman, Akshara Foundation,

Ganitha Kalika Andolana will help improve the poor Math proficiency levels among children and convert it into an interesting, child friendly subject. Through this program we are committed towards a problem solving approach to Math teaching and learning outcomes, improved pedagogy, assessment, training and capacity building of teachers. We also want to ensure quality access to education in government schools and Ganitha Kalika Andolana is a step forward in that direction.

One of the prime motives behind GKA is to remove the fear associated with Maths and make it attractive.

The Math kits designed for children are intended to enhance the learning experience for government school children struggling to learn basic concepts. These kits will help children visualise and understand the learning process rather than just knowing it. According to a press release by the Akshara Foundation,

“When fully laid out, the contents of the Math kits could tempt even an adult maths-phobe to give fractions another shot and one can only imagine the effect it must have on children as they handle the brightly coloured counters, beads, dices, plastic currency, clocks, an abacus and the little weighing scale.”

GKA in its first phase plans to reach out to 3 lac children in across 7549 government schools in six districts of Karnataka, which include Yadgir, Bellary, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar and Koppal. These six districts of Hyderabad Karnataka Region are considered most educationally backward and is conferred with special status in the state under the Indian Constitution.


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