Our exhilaration and adrenaline highs have been official for a while now. Akshara Foundation is going to change the way 300,000 children learn Math this academic year with the #GKAMathMovement.

This movement, in collaboration with the state government and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan formally goes by the name Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA). It’s aimed at improving Math levels in over 7500 schools across six districts in Karnataka.

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But everyone has one question.

HOW? By teaching kids? A new curriculum? A calculator for each child?

Simple. With one big white box.

But it’s been no simple task coming to this answer.

This is a result of years of trials and errors, pilots and their consequential success.

Ashok Kamath, chairman of Akshara Foundation says, “When we approached the state government with our request for GKA in 2013, we were armed with results from our efforts in Hoskote, Kushtagi and Mundargi Blocks – about 575 schools – where we realised a significant improvement in math learning proficiencies in children.”

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And thus the Ganitha Kalika Andolana or #GKAMathMovement came into being. The big white box will now be used to help children across the state.

The kit consists of teaching-learning materials (TLMs) that demystify Mathematics and sets it out in simple terms, teacher-training and teacher-support for effective instruction. What is more, the GKA methodology is compatible with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 guidelines and the class textbooks.


You need to be there to feel that excitement when that big white box is opened up in each classroom. The children already have their favourites picked out. While one reaches for the soft squares that will help him with fractions, another reaches out for his all time favourite, the abacus and its colourful counterparts. Within minutes the entire kit is in play all across the classroom.

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With increasing curiosity about the #GKAMathMovement, here’s a sneak peek into the heroes that make up our Math kit.

1. The ever-dependable abacus

These red, yellow, blue and green hued discs help children add and subtract in a systematic yet interesting way. While the vivid colours retain their attention span, the excitement of spinning around a disc or two with their friends brings out quite a few chuckles.





2. Block of buddies

Following the lines of the abacus, we also have the same hued square counters as an alternative to help them add and subtract. Yellow blocks are meant for the units’ place, blue for tens’, green for hundreds’ and red for the thousands’ place.


3. Play money

Now which kid doesn’t love playing ‘house’ or ‘to-the-market’? If you thought kitchen toys and wax fruit made their eyes sparkle, imagine what paper money does to them.

The paper money in our kit helps children relate to real-life problems and apply it while solving a problem. It’s almost like the real thing, which is very exciting for them.

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4. Cushy Counters

Give them a dip in water and they stick to any surface. For days. No really. These foam squares and fraction strips help children with fractions and decimals.


5. Weighing scale and beakers

A weighing scale, some beakers and water provide a lot of entertainment for children as they discover for themselves whether 250ml is heavier than 150ml and how water can be used to measure the weight of a beaker. For many this is a real-life situation, as their parents run or work in vegetable or grocery shops.


6. Red and white counting system

Learning Math can be easy. And the red and white beaded rope is proof of this. Add a bunch of clothes clips and your tool is ready. One can add, subtract and even multiply using this colourful and very handy device.


Apart from these, a measuring tape, a bag of coins, a place value mat and a clock among others also make it to each kit.

Want to see exactly how each unit can be used? Catch our Math videos here!

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2014 has revealed that only 20.1 percent of class 5 students in government schools in Karnataka can do simple division.


In the words of Ashok Kamath, “Through this programme we are committed towards a problem solving approach to Mathematics teaching and learning outcomes, improved pedagogy, assessments, training and capacity building of teachers. We also want to ensure quality access to education in government schools, and Ganitha Kalika Andolana is a step forward in that direction.”

Can’t wait to get a kit for your kids now? Get in touch with Idek already!

Ganitha Kalika Andolana – the Math movement, is now LIVE.

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In a first, Karnataka State Government rolls out Ganitha Kalika Andolana in collaboration with Akshara Foundation.

June 23, 2015: The Karnataka State Government in collaboration with Akshara Foundation, today rolled out Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA) – a program to improve numeracy skills and facilitate classroom teaching of Mathematics among students in Government primary schools. Starting with all the schools in the Hyderabad Karnataka Region, the state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Akshara Foundation to implement GKA. The programme is financially supported by Hyderabad Karnataka Area Development Board (HKADB) through Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

The two-year plan includes provision of Akshara Ganitha teaching and learning material, capacity building of resource persons and teachers and assessment of children’s learning outcomes. The programme will focus on 4th and 5th standard students to improve proficiency in Mathematics in a child-centric manner.
“This is a leap forward towards the state government’s commitment to provide quality education to students especially in the rural areas. The program is an innovative way to improve learning in Mathematics,” said Dr. Qamarul Islam, Chairman, Hyderabad Karnataka Area Development Board and Hon. Minister for Municipal Administration & Minority Affairs.

“GKA will be a model learning programme to make the children of Hyderabad-Karnataka Region, lead in numeracy skills. The program has been rolled out in six districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region in collaboration with Akshara Foundation and utilizing the assistance from Hyderabad-Karnataka Development Board,” he added.

The partnership with Akshara Foundation is one of the first that the state Government has entered into in the spirit of public-private partnerships. The comprehensive teaching methodology envisaged in GKA program is compliant with the guidelines prescribed by the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and supports the textbooks and workbooks designed by the Karnataka Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT).

“The Annual Status of Education Report 2014 (ASER 2014) has revealed that only 20.1 percent of 5th standard students in government schools in Karnataka can do simple division. Ganitha Kalika Andolana will help improve the poor Math proficiency levels among children and work towards quality education for all,” said Ashok Kamath, Chairman, Akshara Foundation.

Akshara Foundation and the State Government have collaborated over the past decade on many successful primary education initiatives.

About GKA: Ganitha Kalika Andolana is a model support programme aimed at bridging learning gaps in math among children in standard four and five by using an activity based creative approach and peer learning rather than rote application of mathematical concepts. The programme also aims to build significant math capacity among teachers in the state.

About HKADB: The Hyderabad-Karnataka Area Development Board looks at the overall development of the region which has been granted special status under Article 371 (J) of the Constitution by the Union government. The region constitutes of the districts of Gulbarga, Yadgiri, Raichur, Koppala, Bellary and Bidar.. These districts are among the most backward regions of the country with Human Development Indices (HDI) below the sub-Saharan levels.

About SSA: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is Government of India’s flagship programme for achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time bound manner, as mandated by 86th amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group, a Fundamental Right. SSA is being implemented in partnership with State Governments to cover the entire country.

About Akshara Foundation: Akshara Foundation was set up with a mission to ensure Every Child in School and Learning Well. We believe that quality education is the undeniable right of every child and children should not be deprived of it just because they do not have access to it or the resources to realise their dreams.

Media Contact:


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Making Math interesting – the Akshara Ganitha kit

“I can Touch and Feel What I am Doing”

Ramesh is in class 4 at the Government Kannada Lower Primary School, Chandragir, Kushtagi Block. He is the eldest son of his parents and they have ambitions for him. Both his mother and father are daily wage labourers who have never been to school. It is a hard life of toil and they want Ramesh to be free of the burden and the drudgery – working and earning just enough for the day, with no prospects of a future. They want their son to learn and aspire to a higher economic and social status, become an officer when he grows up.

Ramesh is an average student in all subjects and particularly slow in Mathematics. The concepts he was being taught in class were beyond him, he could not decipher any of it. Ranganath is a committed class teacher, stymied till now by the lack of resource material. The textbook is simply no solution for difficult problems. “But the Akshara Ganitha kit provided by Akshara Foundation has helped me teach Ramesh and now he is able to grasp all the concepts,” says Ranganath. “This kit is especially useful for rural children. As a Mathematics teacher I am very happy now to be teaching the subject to my students. I can assure you that all my students, the entire lot of them, are familiar with the concepts and can do sums with ease.”

Says Ramesh, “I became interested in learning Mathematics because the kit is colourful. I can touch and feel what I am doing. I am comfortable with all the concepts. I understand them. Every day I do the sums my Mathematics teacher gives me correctly. My parents are happy to see this. I will become a doctor,” he concludes, confidence bouncing back with his new-found problem-solving capacity. Ramesh’s parents, avid for any clear sign of hope, are overjoyed. The progress of their eldest son is a matter close to their heart.

This was just the beginning. Ever since, we at Akshara Foundation have been gearing up to help many-a-Ramesh, one kit at a time. Stay tuned for our biggest update yet, with the #GKAMathMovement.

Punjab Education Dept. visit Karnataka for Knowledge Sharing

One of the key tenets of Akshara Foundation’s work in primary education is sharing – all our projects, be it KLP or Together We Can stand on our willingness to share. In one such effort, we spent two days with officials from Punjab Education Department (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan & SCERT) and Sampark Foundation sharing our teaching methodology, training mechanisms, assessment guides and teaching-learning material, for their consideration for replication in Punjab.
Team from Punjab education department
inspecting a math class
Sampark Foundation has been working with the Punjab Education Department helping primary schools deliver better education for school children. While considering support for English learning, Sampark visited Karnataka to see Akshara’s successfully functioning model. 
On Wednesday, the 5th of March 2014, Mr. Satwant Singh – Pravesh, SSA, Mr. Kanwaldeep Singh – ASPD Teacher Training, Darshan Singh – Pravesh Dist. Coordinator – Sangrur and Ms. Baljeet Kaur – English Subject Expert – SCERT, Venkatesh Malur and Sandeep Chauhan from Sampark Foundation came to Akshara Foundation. With special focus on our swalpa English Thumba fun programme, Kanchan Bannerjee of Akshara Foundation made a presentation and demonstrated our English kit which is used by Primary School teachers as supplementary material to help better learning.
Learning material in a nail-kali class
To see our work in action, we set off on a field trip the next day, to visit nearby schools in Hoskote for an interaction with children and teachers to demonstrate our contribution. We first reached the Government Higher Primary School in Sir M. V. Nagar in Hoskote to meet Esther Rani and her class. Esther’s nali-kali class of 1st to 3rd standard students demonstrated incredible reading ability. 
Singing English rhymes, reading long sentences, recognizing names of animals and things, the class set a positive tone for the visitors. The enthusiasm in the classroom was bountiful and all students were eager to demonstrate their English skills which was a joy to experience. The team visited two more primary schools in Banamakanahalli and Marasandahalli with around 30 children each and saw the program in action. The children in all the three schools were very eager to show off their English skills and were able to recite rhymes, read out stories and speak out a few sentences. The teachers were making a difference since they had been able to take out their fear of English through the training and practice.
Team from Punjab education department
inspecting a reading lesson
From there, we went to a remote school, rather far from public transport connectivity, with pre-school, primary and higher primary classes. Here was a quick demonstration of our Math kit, which helps children learn through experience. From there, we visited another school close by for a good sample, before we walked off to meet the Block Education Officer. 
Hoskote is among the districts identified as backward in parameters of quality education, with the education department working consistently to make the situation better. The Block Education Officer discussed with his contemporaries from a different state, issues of training and management. The officials see the fruits of the English program and have made provision for refresher training of teachers without a budget allocation since it is helpful to teachers and children.
Students from Akshara supported schools demonstrating English reading and math comprehension ability.
The Education Department from Punjab takes back with them Akshara’s know-how and experiences from the ground illustrating the impact of the work we’ve done. There is, of course, a long way to go – further meetings, conversations and plans – before this is implemented in Punjab as a demonstration project. Until then, let’s work harder and share more.
With inputs from and pictures courtesy of Venkatesh Malur from Sampark Foundation.