Improvements in students scores attributed to Math via radio
Stabroek News
February 15, 2007

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The Ministry of Education says it has recorded significant changes in the performance of Grades One and Two students since the introduction of the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programme.

The ministry said the IRI programme emphasises active learning and interaction and utilises a simple and fun format for teaching Mathematics. The students listen to and interact with radio characters and this methodology has proven to be successful as they respond well and can quickly grasp the concepts being taught, the ministry said in a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release. The ministry said teachers have also reported that there has been marked improvement in performance, particularly from students identified as slow learners.

The ministry said the programme brings a new approach to the learning process and helps teachers to assess the students and help them to meet the required standard. GINA said the first component, which is executed under the Basic Education Access and Management Support programme, focuses on improved school performance to ensure all students can demonstrate age-appropriate Mathematics skills by Grade Three and are equipped with essential reading skills by Grade Four. Grade Two pupils use the IRI Mathematics lessons called 'Land of Numbers' while Grade One students use the 'Fun with Numbers' exercises. Grade Three students will start to use the IRI method in September.

The ministry said the IRI method of teaching was implemented locally because it has proven to be effective in improving children's class performances. The system aims to instil positive attitudes towards Mathematics and to reduce the education gap between students in hinterland areas and those on the coastland.

GINA said the lessons are broadcast for 25 minutes weekdays on the National Communications Network radio on Voice of Guyana. Radio/CD players and rechargeable batteries were distributed to schools and those in outlying areas which do not receive radio signals were given the lessons recorded onto CDs which are to be played at the same time of the radio broadcast. Schools in areas where there is no electricity supply were also given the pre-recorded CDs as well as specialised CD players which have been formatted to work with solar energy.