Monitoring and Evaluation of the Radio Mathematics Programme broadcast by 10 CMonitoring and Evaluation of the Radio Mathematics Programme broadcast by 10 Community Radio Stationommunity Radio Station
The National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), a unit of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India undertook a challenging experiment, by trying to teach Mathematics through Radio, an aural medium, breaking the conventional chalk and board method.
10 Community Radio stations spread over 6 different states in the country were given support to carry out the experiment. They are : Alwar Ki Awaz (Rajasthan), Janadhwani (Karnataka), Kumaon Vani (Uttarkand), Periyar CR (Tamilnadu), Radio Active (Karnataka), Radio Mewat (Haryana), Radio Must (Maharashtra), Rathinavani (Tamilnadu), Shyamalavani (Tamilnadu), and Vasundhara Vahini, (Maharastra).
NCSTC assigned Dr. A. Santha, Director, Media Research Forum, Madurai to monitor and evaluate the Radio Mathematics Programme of these stations.
The evaluator personally visited the stations and conducted the evaluations. The date and duration of the visits are as follows:
- 1. A survey among the registered listeners.
- 2. Focus Group Discussions with the listeners.
- 3. In-depth interview with the production team and with all those who took active participation.
Among the 10 stations, Alwar Ki Awaz, Radio Mewat, Janadhwani and Kumaon Vani have targeted school children. Shyamalavani, Periyar CR, Rathinavani, Radio Active and Vasundhra Vahini have targeted the women audience. Radio Must has specialized in Sports Mathematics.
- 1. School Programmes
Among the 4 stations that targeted school children, the performance of Janadhvani is exceptionally good. With utmost dedication, the station has paid attention to each aspect: in the choice of audience, quality of content, ensuring the listenership of the programme and above all, disseminating the programme to the maximum extent.
Alwar Ki Awaz has used the expertise available in their institution for serving children, who study in government schools and suffer from lack of teachers. They also managed to shoot the programme in the school itself, which has added additional flavor to their productions.
Kumaon Vani has targeted children from standards I to III. They were able to achieve 100% co-operation from the schools, school administrations and the parents. The intervention of Chirag, an NGO in the Kumaon area, has contributed a great deal to the success of the programme. But after the broadcast this is the only station which is not rebroadcasting.
Radio Mewat is yet another station that had addressed middle-school children. On the programme side the team has done it with creativity, getting inputs from the Google team. (Though there are complaints of errors from the Maths expert). On the reception side, the efforts taken by the station are minimal. Taking into consideration the prevailing condition of school administration in Mewat, the team could have chosen just one or two schools and could have ensured listening and impact by constant intervention.
- 2. Programmes for Women
Five stations, Radio Active, Rathina Vani, Periar CR, Shyamalavani and Vasundara Vani have targeted women belonging to various sectors.
Vasundara Vahini’s target group is women tailors working in a garment company. Listenership of the programme is ensured by the company itself. The creativity of the team in involving the community is amazing. The women have been empowered in various ways. Their economical empowerment has resulted in the increase in the production of the company by 20-25%.
Radio Active has chosen domestic workers as their target group. The performance of the team in terms of programming, involving the community, ensuring listenership and empowering them, including in the rights perspective, is impressive and extraordinary.
Periyar CR, stationed in Periyar Maniammai University, has rightly targeted the women farmers. The Community Radio comes under their larger project – Periyar PURA (Providing Urban facilities in Rural Areas) – providing Electronic Connectivity to the villages. Most of the research in this zero-waste campus are farming-oriented and that expertise is used in producing the programmes. The local folk artists and the women in the community are involved in the programme. The station has released 3 CDs containing these programmes.
Shyamalavani is another station which targeted the women folk. They chose the women working under The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. By learning basic mathematics, these women have learnt to carry out their work efficiently.
As an aside, it is worth mentioning that Shyamalavani has identified talent in a woman who has studied only up to 8th standard and now she is a producer-cum-community mobiliser. Though the station has taken special efforts on the programme side, on the reception part much needs to be done. The station managers, Ms. Valarmathi and Mr. Kannan, moved to other institutions and the evaluator found lack of continuity in the station. She had to opt for telephonic interviews and Youtube downloads to gather information.
The performance of Rathinavani is not up to the mark. The Community Radio is used to train their students of Visual Communication. These students go to the field and record the programmes. But the involvement of the community is minimal. Interestingly, this is the only station that broadcasts 24X7. Very old film songs aired by the station are appreciated by the listeners. On the development side, the station has a long way to go.
- 3. Sports Mathematics
Radio Must is the only station which has specialized in terms of the content. The station manager Mr. Pankaj Athawale is a sports commentator. Hence the advisory committee asked Radio Must to experiment “Sports Mathematics”.
“Sports through Radio” by Radio Must is a novel venture and the Radio Must team has put in a lot of effort and creativity into it and has done it with real passion. Hence the programme may be continued. At the same time, genuine efforts should be taken to enhance the listenership of the programme.
- 1. The Radio Mathematics programme has made the Community Radios popular. Dr. Praveen Kumar of Janadhvani said, “Only after ‘Radio Maths’ we learnt to work with deadlines. Our station has learnt to be much more professional”. Ms. Valarmathi of Shyamalavani said that Radio Mathematics has given an identity to their station.
- 2. In general, though Community Radios are meant for the Community, most of the stations do not know how to carry forward the agenda. Radio Mahtematics has given focus and direction to the stations and has ensured a group of committed listeners.
- a. Maths can be taught by the aural-only medium.
- b. Maths is not a subject, but a way of life.
- c. Maths is not difficult, but enjoyable.
- 3. The programme has contributed to the Knowledge Empowerment, Psychological Empowerment, Sociological Empowerment and Economical Empowerment of the community. It has created a sense of community among the listeners. The “Happiness Index” of the community has also increased.
- 1. There was a general feeling that Community Radio need not have programmes for school children. Based on the present study, the evaluator strongly recommends that NCSTC needs to support such programmes. Shortage of teachers is a most common problem in Government schools all over the country. The National Education Policy 1986 mandates the Student – Teacher ratio as 30: 1. Therefore, even if a school has 5 classes, if the strength is less than 30 it can have only one teacher. There are also other bottlenecks in the educational administration.
- 2. More than the children, the teachers have evinced great interest in the programme and they consider it a treasure. Therefore, besides supporting school broadcasts, NCSTC may move one step ahead and bring out audio–books of all these school programmes. Separate funds may be provided for each station for this effort.
- 3. The women’s programmes have not only empowered the women folk, but have contributed to improve their “Happiness Index”. But several women do not have access to radio, either at the work-spot or at home. Hence separate allocations should be made to distribute radio sets. Here Janadhwani model may be followed: The set should be fixed in such a way that only the Community Radio station can be heard.
- 4. It is recommended that the base-line study should be done by a third party, thereby avoiding pre-conceived notions, presumptions and assumptions.
- 5. Besides the summative monitoring and evaluations, mid-term appraisals may also be done by a third party.
The evaluator appreciates the NCSTC for conceiving such a novel venture and for supporting the Community Radios to discover their potentials.
1. Alwar Ki Awaz (Rajasthan) – 22, 23 & 24.04.2016
2. Janadhwani (Karnataka) – 16, 17 & 18.06.2016.
3. Kumaon Vani (Uttarakhand) – 27, 28, 29 & 30.04.2016
4. Periyar CR (Tamilnadu) – 23, 24 & 25.06.2016.
5. Radio Active (Karnataka) – 18 & 19.04.2016
6. Radio Mewat (Haryana) – 25 & 26.04.2016
7. Radio Must (Maharashtra) – 9 & 10.05.2016
8. Rathinavani (Tamilnadu) – 13 & 14.06.2016
9. Shyamalavani (Tamilnadu) – 9 & 16.04.2016.
10. Vasundhara Vahini, (Maharashtra) – 5, 6 & 07.05.2016
The evaluation was done at three levels.
Radio Mathematics has proved beyond doubt that