New radio programme improving schoolchildren Maths performance
Guyana Chronicle
February 13, 2007

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SIGNIFICANT changes have been recorded in the performance of Grades One and Two pupils countrywide since the introduction of the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programme, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.

The agency said IRI, a fun way of teaching Mathematics, emphasises active learning and meaningful interaction on radio between a teacher and the listening class.

It said that according to the Education Ministry, the changes were noted at the nursery level, as well, through the process that introduced a new approach to learning and helps teachers to effectively assess whether the children are meeting the required standards.

Component one of the system focuses on improved school performance to ensure all schoolchildren achieve essential reading skills at Grade Four and demonstrate age-appropriate Mathematics skills by Grade Three, GINA said.

GINA said pupils in Grade Two are using IRI Maths lessons called ‘Land of Numbers’ while those in Grade One use ‘Fun with Numbers’.

Grade Three will, in September, begin utilising the IRI methodology which has proven to be very successful, because children respond well and can quickly grasp the concepts being taught, GINA stated.

The agency said it was utilised by Grade One children for the first time in Guyana during the last academic year and some teachers, with the experience, said IRI has resulted in marked improvement, particularly in the performance of slow learners.

Lessons are broadcast on the National Communications Network (NCN) Voice of Guyana (VOG) for 25 minutes daily, Mondays to Thursdays and provision has been made for schools in areas where there are no radio signals to have the lessons aired at the same time via compact disc (CD) players.

GINA said arrangements are also in place for those schools located in regions where there is no electricity supply to have special CD players which operate with solar energy and each was provided with radio/CD players and rechargeable batteries.

IRI was chosen for Guyana, the agency said, as it is easier for children to develop positive attitudes towards the subject and will contribute to a significant reduction in the education gaps between those in the hinterland and others on the coastland.