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Launching into Action

“Chukke Chinna” and “English is Fun” Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) Programs
On-Air in India

September 2004

School children in Bangalore

"Chukke Chinna" Reaches the Hardest to Reach

The dot-EDU T4 India project and the State government of Karnataka added to India’s Independence Day celebrations with the launch of the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) series Chukke Chinna (choo-kee chin-na), on August 16, 2004 in Bangalore. Education Development Center (EDC), the Ministry of Education and local partners worked together to produce Chukke Chinna, or the “yellow-dot” in Kannada language. The 71-program series uses project-based learning to teach science, social studies and mathematics to 4th and 5th graders throughout rural communities in Karnataka State. Broadcasts on All India Radio began August 18th in 270 pilot schools, and will continue throughout the school year. The Chukke Chinna series is accompanied by 40 educational films slated for broadcast through the new EDUSAT satellite beginning November 1st, along with a series of teacher training and community outreach activities.

The much-anticipated event was well-attended--state government officials, USAID officers, media personnel, local producers and local NGOs gathered at the All India Radio studio in Bangalore to mark what promises to be a positive advancement in the quality of public education in some of India’s most marginalized communities. Chief of Party Andrea Bosch sees the opportunities these programs bring to India’s burgeoning population of primary students: “IRI is an innovative use of radio technology that improves learning gains and increases access to vulnerable populations. Here in India, the IRI and educational video programs support the efforts of State governments to better include girls and scheduled castes in the education process.”


Teachers and students participate during an IRI broadcast

"English is Fun" Broadcasts go beyond Mainstream

Radio is reaching the hardest to reach in the State of Chhattisgarh, too. On September 27th, 2004, EDC and the Chhattisgarhi Ministry of Education launched the English is Fun IRI series. Locally scripted and produced, the IRI programs build upon the existing State English curriculum, which emphasizes listening and speaking skills. Everyday, participants practice these skills when they sing songs, play local games or conduct chain exercises during the 30-minute broadcasts. In addition to regularly scheduled student programs, an additional series offers program support for teachers. These “Teachers Only” programs use feedback gathered from the field about how the IRI methods are impacting the teaching and learning environment. This feedback is used to generate tips for teachers on facilitating programs and overcoming other challenges that arise.

Orienting Teachers to IRI

In preparation for the broadcasts, EDC held a two-day teacher training in each state to orient teachers to use the IRI programs. Orientation is a critical element in the overall success of any IRI program series, as it offers teachers a chance to learn about facilitating, organizing and teaching with IRI. Teachers expressed a mixture of excitement, anticipation and trepidation as they went through the training. According to Karnataka-based Senior Pedagogy Advisor, Victor Paul, “the teacher demand is greater than we anticipated. They are eager to learn and to become the key agents in training others.”

Assessing Impacts

“…the teacher demand is greater than we anticipated. They are eager to learn and to become the key agents in training others.”

-Senior pedagogy advisor

Quantitative and qualitative evaluations assess the programs’ impact on learning gains and improvements in the classroom environment. In July, EDC trained local test administrators to collect baseline data from control and experiment schools throughout Karnataka and Chhattisgarh. At the end of the school year, a follow-up test will be administered; results will indicate student achievement. A multimedia assessment will capture the qualitative impacts of the IRI programs on teaching practices and the classroom environment. Throughout the project, attendance will also be monitored.

The Karnataka and Chhattisgarh Ministry contributions for airtime, construction of digital studios and ongoing facilitation of project activities demonstrate the broad State support for these IRI programs. At the grassroots level, communities support local schools by providing batteries for radios and developing learning materials for the classroom. This commitment shows that the Chukke Chinna and English is Fun programs respond to a real need for better access and better quality basic education. Vandita Sharma, EDC Country Director explains, “We just have to give them (teachers and students) the opportunities. The potential is already there.”

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