Education  India Project #21015

Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun

by Akshara Foundation
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun
Help 300,000 kids realize that Math can be fun

The goal of Ganitha Kalika Andolana is to make Mathematics learning full of Joy. At the same time to increase the learning outcomes in grades 4 and 5 by 15 percentage points compared to ASER – 2014.

 The following activities were conducted as part of the academic year 2016-17:

1. Providing Math kit to 7515 Government Primary schools of 6 districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka Region:

The Math kit consisting of comprehensive Teaching Learning Materials was distributed with the aim facilitates the Math learning experience in grades 4 and 5 to all the supported schools. The Teaching Learning Materials were designed keeping in mind the Karnataka State Curriculum framework. One math kit per school, totaling to 7515 kits were distributed.

2. Teacher training of all the Government Primary schools of 6 districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka Region:

7,827 teachers were trained on how to ease the process of learning Math learning by using the Teaching Learning Materials distributed through the Math kit. The training was conducted in cascade mode by Resource Persons from the Government to the school teachers.  Training was provided in a classroom style with more emphasis on group activities which spanned across 2-4 days of training depending on the type of the participants. For teachers it was for 2 days and for the resource persons it was for four days. The training Teachers were given manuals for easy understanding and maximum utilization of the kit. In addition to this, 17 audiovisuals (a summary on how to use the Ganitha Kalika Andolana kit in the classroom) were shared with the teachers, covering all the learning concepts for future reference.

3. Provide on-site support to teachers through Field Coordinators of Akshara Foundation:

The Field Coordinators of Akshara Foundation are trained to support the Government schools teachers. Akshara recruited around 30 field coordinators in all for Phase 1. That is one Field Coordinator per block. These Field Coordinators visit schools on a regular basis (i.e., a minimum of 2 unique schools per day per cluster) to provide on-site support (i.e., demoing the usage of Ganitha Kalika Andolana kit) as well as to conduct assessments for teachers and students. The impact of the project is measured via regular monitoring through a SMS based system. The SMS system is used by both the FCs and the CRPs.

4. SMS system used by the Akshara Foundation field coordinators and CRPs:

An SMA-based monitoring solution was designed to be used by Akshara’s field team and Government officers to track the implementation of the programme. A set of 5 questions is answered during each school visit. The data is collected in a SMS server, which is then processed by the KLP (Karnataka Learning Partership) MIS system and various reports can be generated at the cluster, district, CRP, Field Coordinator levels and shared with the respective stakeholders.

5. Assessment:

To measure the impact of the program, a tech-based assessment is done for children on a daily basis. Akshara Foundation’s Field Coordinators carry Tablets on field which contains a pre-loaded application to conduct the assessment. The analysis of the assessment data is available in the Learning Outcomes section. The tablet has all the school related information pre-loaded along with the student's name and other details, details of the field coordinators who facilitate the assessment. Once these information is fed into the tablet, the students are given the respective tabs with their basic info loaded to complete the 20 mins long assessment. The data of the assessment is captured offline and synced with the KLP MIS system whenever the Field Coordinator is able to get online (3G/4G data or the internet café). Once the data is in KLP system, it is easy to come up with various analyses (subject-wise, district-wise, gender-wise, teacher-wise etc)

6. Community mobilization:

Community is an integral part of school education and plays a vital role in child’s education. Hence, activities at Gram Panchayat (GPs) level such as Math contests have been conducted along with the local community to create awareness among community members on the status of math education. As part of Phase 1, in the 6 districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region, we had more than 650 GPs participate in the math contest in a voluntary fashion raising their own funds to conduct this as a village function. In each GP on an average 150-300 students took this math contest and won cash prizes.

 The analysis of the technology based assessments present the following outcomes:

  • Children were tested for 2-digit subtraction problems with carry over. A child must solve two problems correctly to consider as 'Child can do subtraction’.  At the end of academic year 2016-17, 62% of student from Ganitha Kalika Andolana intervention schools in grade 5 were able to solve subtraction questions. While the result for ASER 2014-2015 was 34% students from grade 5th students.
  • Children were tested for division problem with three digit dividend with single digit divisor with reminder. Child has to solve two division problems correctly to consider as 'Child can do division’. According to ASER 2014 survey, 16.7% of the students of grade 5th were able to solve the division question. Currently there is an increase of 13.3% points in division learning outcome compared to ASER-2014 in Ganitha Kalika Andolana intervention schools.

Akshara would like to thank you for your continuous support to our Math programme. We are excited to take it forward to additional six districts Karnataka, impacting over 200,000 children from around 4500 schools in 2017-18.

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GKA Classroom practices
GKA Classroom practices

Akshara Foundation's long envisioned objective of improving numeracy skills and facilitate classroom teaching of Mathematics among students in Government primary schools saw light in the form of Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA). Since the launch of GKA, we have witnessed a large number of inspiring stories emerging while making the Math learning effective for around 3 lack children of class 4 and 5 in 7515 schools in 6 districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

An empowered teacher:

One of the major expected output from this intervention was to empower the teachers for their Math classroom practices. The approach was to provide Math teaching aids and to build the innovative pedagogic practice through training. Mrs.Mary a Math teacher in Government Higher Primary School Sukalapete of Sindanoor block in Raichur district is  one such empowered teacher. Mary says "By adopting the principles of GKA like Concrete-Representational-Abstract phases and principles of group activities, it as made me a facilitator of math learning than an instructor, which I used to be earlier. These colorful materials are attractive and holds the concentration of learner a longer time".

There are 41 children in grade four and 49 in grade five, we could see all 50 children practicing the representational stage, which helps in the transition from concrete teaching aids towards learning abstract concept of Math. She has made a large banner with pictures of all the Teaching aids provided as a part of GKA and displayed in the classroom. It was interesting to see that children have made replicas of most of the Teaching aids provided with the kit. Mary as maintained a separate profile for all fifty children to track the progress of their Math learning. During the class, she displays a chart with a problem, children will pick of their choice of Teaching aids relevant to solve the problem and works with different groups to solve the problem. Mary says, when children work in group it helps slow learners to pick-up the pace of learning. As a spill over effect, the Teaching aids supplied for grade 4 and 5 is used to facilitate learning in grade 7 as well. 

Monitoring, a shift from Field Coordinator's of Akshara Foundation to Cluster Resoruce Persons (CRPs) of the Education department, Government of Karnataka:

Akshara appointed Field Coordinators for monitoring the program and to provide on-site support for teachers. A SMS based monitoring mechanism was introduced in the academic year 2016-17. Field Coordinators of Akshara will send responses for questions related to GKA during their school visits. An instruction was sent from State office of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to CRPs to send the SMS during their school visit. This exercise has a spill over effect in clusters like Jalihall cluster of Sindanoor. During the process of sending the response, Mr.Prakash, CRP of Jalihall cluster has become familiar with the Teaching Aids of GKA and the method of using it. He has made sure that every school in his cluster uses Teaching aids of Ganitha Kalika Andolana during the Math classroom. This a good example of effect Cluster leadership on functioning of schools and effective implementation of education initiatives.

Transferring of responsibility for sustainability, from Akshara Foundation to Community based organization:

Participation of community in the school's administrative as well as the learning process, plays a major role in delivering quality education in the school system. Political decentralization makes local self government a key stakeholder in the school process. To make school porous to the community and strengthen the involvement of local self government, Akshara is organizing Gram Panchyath Level Math competitions for children of grade 4, 5 and 6. These competitions are held in partnership with volunteers of the village, Local Self Government and other community stakeholders. Conducting these competitions has optimize the stakeholder involvement in Andolana, meaning movement. To sustain these competitions it is important that community stakeholders continue these events in the absence of Akshara Foundation's Field Coordinators.

Bhaknal Gramaabhivridhi Sanga of Ladwanthi Gram Panchayath has taken up the ownership of organizing one such event. Bhaknal Gramaabhivridhi Sanga is a community based organization with 180 active members. Apart from organizing the Math competition for children, the organization is also considering the option of arranging remedial classes for children with the help of volunteers from the community.

Field stories like these motivate us to put extra effort to accomplish the objectives of our programs. At the end of the day, the beneficiary of all these efforts is a innocent child learning and enjoying mathematics!

Gram Panchayath Math contest inauguration
Gram Panchayath Math contest inauguration
With winners of the Gram Panchayath Math contest
With winners of the Gram Panchayath Math contest
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It’s been a year since the launch of Akshara Foundation’s biggest programme yet, Ganitha Kalika Andolana - the math programme that was implemented in six districts of the Hyderabad Karnataka region namely, Gulbarga, Koppal, Bellary, Raichur, Bidar and Yadgir. Around 8,000 teachers, 682 Government Resource Persons and 718 Cluster Resource Persons have been trained on the methodology, so that 300,000 children in 7,515 schools could benefit from this programme.

The excitement of the new academic year has just about died down, and classes are now in full swing. The beginning of an academic year brings with it new aspirations, and new goals. There is always a drive to do better than the previous year, to learn more and achieve more.

The timing is perfect to step back and take a look at how far we’ve come, how the programme has motivated the children and whether learning levels have indeed increased.

The stories of Husainbi and Vinay are perfect examples of how much our programme has impacted the likes of them and made them fall in love with math.

13-year old Husainbi lives in Doni village, along with her parents and two siblings. Doni village falls 30km away from Mundargi town, north of Karnataka. While her father works as a daily-wage labourer in the fields, her mother is a home maker.

Husainbi was a 1st grade drop out and her parents never forced her to go back to school. Instead, she remained at home taking care of her siblings and helping her mother with household chores. After a lot of intervention from the Akshara resource person, her class teacher and even her head master, they managed to convince her and her parents about the importance of an education, and why it was essential she go back. They finally managed to get her into the 2nd grade, at the age of ten years.

Three years later, on her sheer dedication, interest in academics and further insistence, her head master has promoted her to the 6th grade. She can now read and write well. In fact, she even manages the class during the absence of the teachers.

Most importantly, the teaching learning materials in our math kit are a huge attraction for her. She even comes forward to act as a facilitator/leader during the math class. She loves solving problems in a group, with the help of the math kit. It’s her favourite subject! This genius in the making wants to become a teacher when she grows up.

Vinay on the other hand, comes from Hanumasagar, in Gadag district, also in north Karnataka. He stays with his parents and two brothers. His parents, both educated till the 10th grade, shifted to Hanumasagar just so the kids could get a good education. And Vinay is definitely making the most of it, right from the 4th grade.

Vinay has a new-found love for math, and he says it’s all because of the math kit that Akshara has provided in his school. He never wants to go back to Gajendragad because he will never find such colourful and fun ways of learning math. He even helps his friends in class while using the math kit. He has been put in charge of all the materials, to ensure everything is in order.

His mother meets the teachers regularly, and even wanted to become the SDMC member to help improve the learning quality in the school where her children learn.

A great start, with a long way still to go. It’s inspiring stories like these that keep us focussed and more determined than ever, to ensure that our math programme soon covers every government school in the state.

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Opening the sealed envelope of question papers
Opening the sealed envelope of question papers

An entire academic year has just gone by after the grand launch of Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA), our innovative support programme rolled out in June 2015 by Akshara Foundation, in collaboration with the Karnataka State Government.

During the course of the year, the programme was implemented in six districts of the Hyderabad Karnataka region namely, Gulbarga, Koppal, Bellary, Raichur, Bidar and Yadgir. Around 8,000 teachers, 682 Government Resource Persons and 718 Cluster Resource Persons have been trained on the methodology, so that 300,000 children in 7,515 schools could benefit from this programme.

In an attempt to understand exactly how much the programe has benefitted the students and how much they have been exposed to it, Akshara Foundation was a proud facilitator of a one of its kind math competition for the children this summer.

This competition was organised and spearheaded by the Gram Panchayats themselves. (A gram panchayat is the cornerstone of a local self-government organisation in India of the panchayati raj system at the village or small town level and has a sarpanch as its elected head – source: Wikipedia) Many villages come under a single Gram Panchayat. And Akshara identified around 250 such gram panchayats, spread across the 6 districts of GKA.

Out of the 250 identified Gram Panchayats, the team managed to conduct competitions in 216 of them. Targeting 30,000 children, involving 2,000 youth volunteers and 20,000 parents, these competitions truly took the ANDOLANA (meaning a Movement) to a whole new level. Many of the parents were exposed to the impact of interactive-based learning and in turn, the importance of math, for the first time.

The question papers were set by Akshara Foundation and reached each Gram Panchayat in sealed envelopes. The Gram panchayat members would then begin the competition by opening the sealed envelopes on the day of the competition, in front of everyone. All the participants were given a paper each, and had to solve all the questions within the given time. Our youth volunteers would then huddle in a room and and correct the papers themselves, once all the papers were collected from the children.

Once done, the results were announced in a grand closing ceremony, where the child who bagged the 1st prize was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 1000/-, Rs. 600/- was awarded as the 2nd prize and Rs. 400/- as the 3rd prize.

The children’s performance, good or bad, has definitely started many a conversation amongst all the stakeholders. We are happy that this initiative has motivated the community to take a keen interest in their children’s education.

Some of the participants, busy solving problems
Some of the participants, busy solving problems
Participants, again busy solving the problems
Participants, again busy solving the problems
Youth volunteers, correcting the question papers
Youth volunteers, correcting the question papers
The stage all set, for the grand closing ceremony
The stage all set, for the grand closing ceremony

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Winners
Winners

Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA) is an innovative support programme rolled out in June 2015 by Akshara Foundation in collaboration with the Karnataka State Government. The programme is aimed at bridging learning gaps in math among children in grades four and five by using an activity based creative approach and peer learning rather than rote application of mathematical concepts. The programme also aims to build significant math capacity among teachers in the state. GKA is being conducted in all government primary schools in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

The partnership with Akshara Foundation is one of the first that the state Government has entered into in the spirit of public-private partnerships. The comprehensive teaching methodology envisaged in GKA program is compliant with the guidelines prescribed by the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and supports the textbooks and workbooks designed by the Karnataka Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT).

To keep the excitement going amongst teachers and to recognize the creativity and efforts of the teachers in teaching math inside classrooms, we launched the Most Innovative Math Teacher contest in the rural block of Kushtagi in Koppal, in December 2015. The contest saw a record number of 230 entries sent in by public school teachers from the 220 schools in Kushtagi. Centered around the use of all the elements of the Akshara Ganitha Math kit, the aim of the contest was to motivate the government school teachers to come up with innovative ways of using the kit to teach math to their students.

A total of 20 participants were shortlisted for the semi-finals based on the videos sent in as part of their entries. These 20 semi-finalists participated in an exciting buzzer round which consisted of questions based on math curriculum and pedagogy. The top 6 participants from the buzzer round went into the challenging final round, where they had to find the most innovative way of teaching a concept using the Akshara Ganitha Math Kit. 

The inaugural season of the contest focused on finding the three most innovative teachers in Kushtagi. The finals was held on 3rd February, 2016. Iranna Patel of Government Kannada Higher Primary School, Topalakatti was judged as the Most Innovative Math Teacher in Kushtagi Block of Koppal District! The second and third prize winners were Hafiza Begum of Government Kannada Lower Primary School Mankalakeri, Bijakal and Geeta L Basarakod Government Kannada Lower Primary School Sharif Nagar, Kustagi. The winners received individual cash prizes and gifts for
their respective schools.

Akshara parterned with a local TV channel to telecast the episodes on their channel as that enabled us to reach out to a larger section of people and create awareness about the programme. The episodes are also uploaded on our YouTube channel. Please click on the below links to view the episodes:

Episode 1: Semi Finals - https://youtu.be/-G_tTxGyAoc?list=PLxWlHsIoCtrmbMdZVrXH7jJMFrSTqZj36

Episode 2: Meet the Finalists - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvahS3yKXCc&list=PLxWlHsIoCtrmbMdZVrXH7jJMFrSTqZj36&index=4

Episode 3: Finals - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iOkM-9S43Y&index=5&list=PLxWlHsIoCtrmbMdZVrXH7jJMFrSTqZj36

We are encouraged by the high level of enthusiasm shown by the teachers in participating in this contest. We hope that they will continue this enthusiasm and share more of their knowledge with their peers in the teaching community so that it will benefit all the children in Karnataka. We are now thrilled to take this contest all across the state and motivate teachers to showcase their creative abilities while teaching math!

Look forward to season 2 towards the end of 2016!

Mr. Iranna Patil - winner
Mr. Iranna Patil - winner
Mrs. Hafiza Begum - 2nd prize winner
Mrs. Hafiza Begum - 2nd prize winner
Mrs. Geeta Basarakod - 3rd prize winner
Mrs. Geeta Basarakod - 3rd prize winner

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Organization Information

Akshara Foundation

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka - India
Website:
Akshara Foundation
Asha Sharath
Project Leader:
Asha Sharath
Bangalore, Karnataka India

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