In Madagascar, the Efficiency of Exercise Books to Raise the Level of Knowledge
Like many students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the South-east of the island, Rosalina, 12, have been absent from school for several weeks to support her parents in income-generating activities. In times of emergency and cyclone, it is crucial that family members help each other in order to meet their daily needs and cover tuition fees. School supplies, among others, are not among the needs to be prioritized.
Noting this high dropout rate, which is in contradiction with the promotion of every child’s right to education, the Ministry of National Education, supported by partners like UNICEF as part of its “Back to School and Learning” programme, has developed three workbooks for each student with basic subjects: Mathematics, French and Malagasy in order to raise achievement for all students in general and to enhance the level of achievement for children who have also been absent like Rosalina. The use of these tools also aims at school reintegration. 25,102 students are affected in the South East Regional Authority and receive these school kits and exercise materials.
Rosalina demonstrates the efficiency of the workbooks she has been using since 3 November, 2022, “Now the lessons are easier to understand because we’re doing a lot of exercises in these new manuals.” At home, by implementing the instructions for the use of the manuals already stated by her teacher, she familiarizes herself with the exercises according to the lessons already discussed at school and carefully follows the corrections.
“Now the lessons are easier to understand because we’re doing a lot of exercises in these new manuals”
For the principal of her school, there has indeed been progress among several students: “Rosalina and many of her classmates have evolved in three subjects: Mathematics, French and Malagasy, compared to the same period last year.” And the benefits are not just for students. The availability of these notebooks has enabled teachers to encourage students to practice more – an effective response to the lack of textbooks in schools. Teachers are thus better equipped to increase understanding of lessons and address them from several angles in order to facilitate their assimilation.
“For French, for example, the exercises are in French and Malagasy, so I understood the questions well and I am very motivated to do them. My reading comprehension in French has also improved. As for mathematics, the exercises seem easier. While I was barely averaging 10/20 before, I did very well on the last quarterly test with a score of 16/20,” says Rosalina proudly.