The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education received excellent results after implementing the games’ method in selected schools to teach students math
The teacher randomly selects a primary school student from the classroom and makes the pupil a king or a queen. Every other student then gets five replica notes of Tk1,000.
The king or queen, who knows the total amount of replica money in class, asks others to perform basic mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Students then solve math problems in a fun and interactive way by exchanging replica notes of Tk100, 10 and 1 with the teacher. This is one among dozens of such games designed to help students learn math in an engaging process.
The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education has received tremendous response and excellent results after implementing the games' method in selected schools to teach students mathematics.
It had taken the initiative with the aim to improve the quality of the primary students' education across the county, as even the latest ministry study showed that only 10 percent of the students who completed the fifth grade were competent in math.
The ministry concluded a pilot project titled "Increasing the competency of primary school students using Math Olympiad method" in December last year.
A total of 240 teachers from 80 government primary schools in 17 districts were trained under the project, which began in April 2018 and had a budget of Tk5.34 crore.
After widespread success of the pilot project, the ministry decided to apply the method to all primary schools across the country from June this year.
Suporna Bhoumik, headmaster of Elenga Government Primary School of Kalihati upazila in Tangail, told The Business Standard, "Only a few students used to be good at math in my school, especially from classes III and IV.
But after applying the games' method, at least 95 percent of the students are now proficient in math.
"We used to teach math in a traditional method. But the pilot project changed us dramatically, as it trained us and made us perfect for teaching the students by utilising the games' method. It is a matter of hope that no student now misses math classes. Rather, they are present in the class half an hour before the schedule. Their fear of math has turned into enjoyment."
She added that the students would welcome mathematics instead of fearing the subject if the ministry applied the method across the country.
Ananta Karmoker, a Class V student of the Elenga Government Primary School, said, "I tried to escape math classes since the first grade. I did not know that these classes could be fun. Now I can play in the math classes and get some happiness.
"Math is not my enemy. It is my friend now."
Md Nurunnabi Sohag, senior assistant secretary of the education ministry and also the project director, said, "Children all over the world fear learning math. But developed countries overcame the problem by applying the games' method for their schoolchildren.
"In Bangladesh, we teach children through the traditional method. That is why we remained unsuccessful in removing our students' fear of math. So, we launched a pilot project and got tremendous success. We successfully eradicated the students' fear of math."
He continued, "We trained 240 teachers up under the project. We also organised Math Olympiads in 54 districts last year as part of our initiative to launch the games' method in all schools.
"The ministry will provide training for 1,30,000 teachers to make them perfect for taking math classes. Two teachers from each school will be trained."
Muhammad Salauddin, assistant specialist of the National Academy for Primary Education, said, "Mathematics is considered the most important subject all over the world largely because it is integrated with many subjects.
"Many researchers have concluded that no country has attained any economic breakthrough without the development of a minimum mathematics base. There is a worldwide concern about learners' poor performance in mathematics."
He added that the students will benefit if the ministry introduces the new system of learning math.