• Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Greater Manchester launches tailored bilingual workshops to enhance maths abilities

Since November 2023, teacher Nadia Hussain has been helping residents improve their budgeting and numeracy skills through a pilot programme that presents the course material in both Urdu and Punjabi

Nadia Hussain, who teaches the ‘Making Better Choices & Budgeting’ course, a key component of the Growth Company and Manchester Athena’s Multiply initiative

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

In an innovative approach to adult education, Greater Manchester has rolled out a unique initiative offering budgeting and numeracy classes in Urdu and Punjabi, directly addressing the needs of its diverse community.

This initiative is a part of the Multiply programme, introduced by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in March 2023 and supported by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). The programme’s goal is to furnish residents with vital life skills, including numerical confidence and qualifications in maths or numeracy, tailored to enhance everyday practical abilities.

People living in Greater Manchester are now improving their daily math abilities thanks to budgeting courses offered in Urdu and Punjabi.

In March 2023, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) rolled out the Multiply programme across the city-region. This initiative, supported by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), is designed to provide local residents with vital life skills, enhance their numerical confidence, and offer them the opportunity to earn a qualification in math or numeracy.

A key feature of Multiply in Greater Manchester is its focus on inclusivity and accessibility, ensuring that education caters to the community’s varied linguistic backgrounds, a press release from Greater Manchester Combined Authority said.

This adaptability is illustrated in the courses offered by Nadia Hussain who teaches the ‘Making Better Choices & Budgeting’ course, a key component of the Growth Company and Manchester Athena’s Multiply initiative, designed to assist Oldham residents in acquiring crucial skills for navigating the cost of living, job hunting, filling out applications, and budgeting.

She observed that many participants, especially those from the local Pakistani community, faced language challenges, causing them to withdraw early from the programme.

Since November 2023, Nadia has been helping residents in improving their budgeting and numeracy skills through a pilot programme that presents the course material in both Urdu and Punjabi.

Hussain’s efforts have led to a notable success, with courses achieving full attendance and participants showing a keen interest in further education opportunities.

“Delivering the course in learners’ native language alongside English allows them to fully benefit while also providing them with a comfortable space to practise their English skills,” she said, emphasising the dual advantage of language inclusivity in education.

Participants have shared enthusiastic feedback about the impact of these courses on their daily lives. Majida Shaheen and Nazia Azeem, residents of Oldham, highlighted how the classes have not only improved their budgeting skills but also fostered a sense of community among local women.

While Mehwish Rani, another participant, praised the course for boosting her confidence in both numeracy and English language skills.

Greater Manchester provides a wide range of courses through Multiply, addressing various numeracy requirements. Offerings range from workshops designed to strengthen numeracy confidence, assist parents in acquiring additional skills for supporting their children’s homework, to helping those affected by the cost-of-living crisis improve their life quality through numeracy education.

The Multiply programme, through initiatives like Hussain’s courses, demonstrates Greater Manchester’s commitment to breaking down educational barriers and promoting skill development across all community sectors.

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Greater Manchester’s lead for technical education and skills and Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council, both underscored the importance of such inclusive educational opportunities in fostering a skilled, diverse community.

Additionally, Michelle Handley, senior training and curriculum manager from the Growth Company, said: “This is one of the inclusive courses offered under the Multiply contract, that we deliver across Greater Manchester in local communities. It engages residents in learning through enjoyable, informative courses, alongside access to accredited programmes.

As Multiply plans to continue delivering tailored courses until March 2025, this initiative represents a model of how targeted, culturally sensitive education can empower individuals and enrich communities.

Further details about the Multiply programme in Greater Manchester are available on the GMCA website.

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