By Alok Verma

In a very innovative way 12 community radio stations are broadcasting very unique audio programmes to popularize simple mathematics for the benefit of underprivileged listeners. Most of these community radio stations are located in areas where also resides a sizable population of underprivileged section of the society. Not too incomprehensible though lack of opportunity and affordability are two dominant reasons for many children living in these places for not able to pursue formal education. Consequently, children early in age start to work for adding to the income of the household along with their parents.

Keeping this problem on forefront the National Council for Science and Technology Communication, Ministry of Science and Technology conceived the Radio Mathematics project in 2013 for popularizing mathematics education through the audio medium of community radio, cost effectively to all strata of society.

Radio Mathematics was initiated as the new project through Community Radio by National Council for Science and Technology Communication, Ministry of Science and Technology in 2013

To impart mathematical concepts Community Radio stations are identified and funded by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication Community to impart the Mathematics through Air-e-education through community radios in remote rural India in their local languages for the benefit of their community people. Hitherto, thousands of rural women were not reachable as target group audience to raise levels of knowledge development and awareness.  

The Radio Mathematics project is currently being handled by Dr. Rashmi Sharma under the leadership of Prof. Chander Mohan, of National Council for Science and Technology Communication, Ministry of Science and Technology. Radio Mathematics actually is the brainchild of Dr. R. Sreedher, former Director, CEMCA, who envisioned popularizing mathematics education through the audio medium of community radio, cost effectively to all strata of society.

The most efficient media for all is Radio, since it enables even illiterate people to learn Mathematical concepts without having their work affected. Community Radio Stations, especially those spread across rural areas across India, has to create Mathematics awareness.

While many past efforts may have reached out as hoped, the movement has succeeded in creating strong and enduring bonds among diverse groups of women. It is very difficult for these women to get financial resources, to lead their day-to-day life, and often are the ones that suffer the most poverty and that affects these illiterate farming women throughout their lifetime.

Mathematics is to be taught for a range of audiences including from primary level students to people in the non-formal sector, adults and neo literates. Radio Mathematics Project will try teaching a variety of lessons covering addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, algebra, trigonometry, geometry and calculus besides others over radio.

Media for Community FoundationM4C, with its expertise in research, community participation and capacity building, has been working closely as the nodal organization with NCSTC since 2014. Cuurently, the M4C is implementing and monitoring the Radio Mathematics Project for 2016-2017.

To cultivate an enthusiasm to listen to community radio and interest in mathematics, invigorating and educating the masses, particularly women and the rural folks of the knowledge and use of mathematics in everyday life, also dispelling the phobia surrounding the subject and to make learning via community radio, an enriching life experience – is one of the main aims of the Radio Mathematics Project.

On the occasion of the 125th Birthday Anniversary of mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan (born 1887) – 2012 was celebrated as The National Year of Mathematics, and December 22, his birthday, henceforth will be celebrated as National Mathematics Day.

During the Year of Mathematics, NCSTC conducted pilot studies at four community radio stations namely, Shyamalavani CR, Madurai, TN in the South, Radio JU CR in Kolkata, WB in the East, IITK CR, IIT Kanpur, UP, in the North, and MUST Radio, Mumbai, Maharashtra in the West – where over 90 episodes were broadcast in 2012-13. Mathematics knowledge was broadcast through skits, plays, puzzles, quiz, songs etc with lots of incentives.

Based on the success in 2014-15, NCSTC has offered the Radio Mathematics project to 12 different community radio stations across the country.

The following CRS have been broadcasting simple audio programmes under ‘Radio Mathematics’ project:

  1. Radio JIMS – Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
  2. Kamalvani – Kolsiya, Jhunjhunu Dis., Rajasthan
  3. Jnan Taranga – Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University, Guwahati, Assam
  4. Samudayik Vanya Radio – Khalwa, Khandwa Dist, Madhya Pradesh
  5. Radio Popcorn – Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
  6. Alwar ki Awaz – Alwar, Rajasthan
  7. Vasundhara Vahini – Baramati, Pune Dist, Maharashtra (Phase I)
  8. Radio FTII – Pune, Maharashtra (Phase I)
  9. Pasumai CR – Dindigul, Tamil Nadu
  10. Janadhwani CR – Saraguru, H.D Kote Taluk, Mysore Dist, Karnataka (Phase I)
  11. Radio Active CR – Bengaluru, Karnataka (Phase I)

12. Periyar CR – Thanjavur Periyar Maniammai University, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu (Phase

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