December 04, 2010

Teaching English through Radio

Times of India, PATNA: Speaking English was once like a dream for the underprivileged children in the state. Their dream has now become a reality. Bangalore-based NGO, Education Development Centre (EDC), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bihar Education Project (BEP) in collaboration with All India Radio have started an interactive radio programme `English is fun'.

As a result of this initiative, children's ability to speak English has increased substantially in the last four years amongst the students of elementary level. As a pilot project, it was introduced in class I and II as level-1 on November 20, 2007. Later, it was introduced in class III and IV also as level-2 on October 26, 2009.

The figures given by BEP shows the programme's success. Previously, the understanding of English was just 33.3% at level-1 and 39% at level-2. Post-programme, the figures rose to 63.1% and 64.8%, respectively.

Not only this, post-programme the ability to speak English at level-1 has risen from 11% to 37.9% and 14.5% to 41.3% at level-II. This programme is presently being broadcast in 70,000 primary and middle government schools across 37 districts of the state. Its broadcasting units are located in four districts- Patna, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur and Purnia. Out of the total of 1.3 crore children benefiting from this programme, 77.73 lakh are from level-I and 53.72 lakh from level-II.

The specially trained teachers, who teach along with the radio broadcasting, use different means like songs, grammar, shapes, names of various objects, colours, weeks etc. These lessons are aired by AIR in a 30-minute capsule four days a week. For Level-I this programme is broadcast at 12.30 pm and for level-II at 1 pm. Sunita Singh, state coordinator, EDC, Bihar told TOI that a package of 122 episodes of the interactive radio instruction programme has been prepared for level-1 and 80 episodes for level-2.

"The total cost of the programme is Rs 8.84 crore. USAID has funded the technology tools for teaching and training programmers and EDC is providing the package of this programme free of cost," said Ashok Tiwari, State resource person, BEP. He added, "We are trying to make students learn the language in an interesting way."

English teaching programme through interactive radio developed by EDC is running in eight states of the country - Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Delhi, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. After witnessing its success, EDC has now prepared similar packages for mathematics and social science also.