Forty secondary schools started using new mathematics e-learning programs to boost students’ mathematics ability and to determine if e-learning should be incorporated into mathematics lessons nationwide.

“Boosting mathematics skills and critical thinking is essential in today’s modern world. Computer technologies can complement regular classroom teaching in a way that can bring everyone up to international levels in an individual way,” said Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) South Asia Department Director Sungsup Ra.

Under a $ 725,000 grant, ADB has translated the mathematics e-learning programs of Khan Academy and Math-Cloud into Sinhala.

These will be used in 20 schools each as part of daily a mathematics lessons on a six month trial basis through to the end of 2014. Student performance will then be assessed to determine how effective the programs were in boosting students’ mathematics achievement and confidence.

In many developing countries, the quality of education suffers due to weak teacher training, inadequate school facilities and equipment, and outdated curricula.

Although many governments in Asia see the value of introducing information communication technologies into schools, the focus has largely concentrated on providing computers and other hardware, rather than the software and computer programs needed to make use of them. The result is that many students in the region leave school with an education that is ill-fitted to a modern global economy.

In Sri Lanka, around half of 16year olds have to retake the exams necessary to advance to their last two years of schooling. The government has been working to find ways of improving the quality of mathematics education in the country’s 9,905 schools, including introducing more software-based platforms to promote more dynamic learning and teaching.

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