Kyrgyzstan, Osh: UNICEF kits entice students to math and science lessons
1 out of 10 students is new at Osh’s Gorky School, which opened its doors for children who lost their schools in the June events. It has not been easy, but UNICEF, the director and teachers do their best to ease the transition period.
“Gorky and six other schools in Osh took on the affected students of Hamza School. Since the start of this school year, UNICEF has supported us and the six other schools in many ways. We are also proud of being one of the first seven schools in the world trying out UNICEF Math and Science Kits – high quality tools and instruments”, explains Zylfiakhan Kadurova, director of Gorky School.
Maftuna (17) started the new school year at Gorky School together with 67 other Hamza students. She seems to embrace the changes in her educational situation: “My brother and many of my friends studied at Gorky school. That made the choice easier”, she explains while demonstrating how to measure the volume of cylinders, tubes, and pyramids. “My classmates did not exaggerate when they told me about the captivating math and science lessons at Gorky school”, she exclaims showing the UNICEF Boxes, full of modern and advanced math and science tools. Maftuna, who now wants to become a doctor, is not the only student who has changed her opinion about math and science.
However not all students started in September; many stayed at home, still living in fear of violence. Classmates at Gorky School have been calling them and, among other things, mentioned the amazing math and science lessons. This has decided an increasing number of students to return to school.
The director and teachers of Gorky School are aware that the loss of a school, of classmates and teachers, and having to adapt to new, unknown surroundings are challenges that might lead to traumas. In order to facilitate this transfer, students, administration, teachers and parents have participated in different conflict mitigation and peace building trainings, supported by UNICEF.
“Before we only listened to the teachers and looked at their drawings on the blackboard. It was often boring”, admits Bakhadir Achmedjanovic (13) during a science lesson. “Until last autumn we had only seen pictures of science instruments. Now we have them at our school. We own them. We have touched and used them, and we have measured and understood formulas, statements and contexts”. Bakhadir proves Archimedes' law with a big smile. “It is also fun to actively try out new experiments and tools.”
Zinatoy Kubulova (13) agrees with Bakhadir. “Science and Math theory becomes complicated at our level. The new tools allow us to understand different processes and solutions to math problems. I like physics and math much better since we got the new instruments”, admits Zinatoy, she now regularly participates in an extra curriculum Math and Science Club at Gorky school. Maybe that is the reason why the physics teacher, Shadmanov Ymarjov, asks her to explain the different parts and stages of a spaceship in front of the class.
According to the physics teacher, Ymarjov, the concentration and comprehension of the students has increased significantly since Gorky School received the new tools and instruments. “Our equipment had not been renewed since the Soviet Period. Of course these Math and Science Kits make it easier to grab the attention and the interest of the students. Therefore the learning process has become more effective and interesting”.
Gorky School Director Kadurova has expressed her gratitude for receiving three Math and three Science Kits from UNICEF. To ensure that all students benefit from the new educational equipment, the six boxes have been divided and distributed to all classes from 1st to 11th grades. All in all, 6000 students in 7 schools of Southern Kyrgyzstan have benefited from the 50 Math and 50 Science Kits distributed by UNICEF. According to the unanimous positive response from teachers and students who are using these tools, this pilot project has shown considerable results. More and more schools are now asking for tools and instruments to improve their level of education.
And at Gorky School, the director’s goal is to continue to improve the education level. “There is no doubt that the UNICEF distribution of new educational equipment has increased the level in math and science”, exclaims the school director. “My hope is that the country will soon leave its bottom position in the 2010 international report from The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)” ends Kadurova.
Aashild Eliassen, UNICEF Education, Osh