JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Hundreds of students, from the pre-primary to tertiary level, converged on the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, today (March 13), where they experienced the joy of Mathematics, as they played games and explored concepts being taught in the classroom.
  • Rev. Thwaites also cited the need to be prepared and have the necessary skills for employment in the upcoming logistics hub development.
  • Dr. Benjamin said that to change attitude, opportunities must be provided to reduce levels of anxiety, to motivate students, change the belief system of teachers, and to help students see the relevance of the subject to their everyday life experiences.

Hundreds of students, from the pre-primary to tertiary level, converged on the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, today (March 13), where they experienced the joy of Mathematics, as they played games and explored concepts being taught in the classroom.

The students were participating in the second annual National Mathematics Expo, held under the theme: ‘Maths Revolution =Economic Solution’.

The event saw 32 exhibitors from various professional bodies and private and public sector organisations mounting 40 exhibitions, which showed how the students can apply the learning of mathematics to their daily lives; different methodologies that can be employed to learn the subject; as well as new materials on the market in the subject area.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said the Expo shows students and members of the public a wide range of applications and jobs that require mastery in Mathematics.

“We want you to see the different career opportunities and to set your goals. Qualify yourself in mathematics, so that you can be gainfully employed in Jamaica and elsewhere in the globe,” he urged.

Rev.  Thwaites also cited the need to be prepared and have the necessary skills for employment in the upcoming logistics hub development.

He told the students that there are many different ways in which they can master the subject and urged them to put aside the cultural prejudice against excellence in Mathematics that is holding them back.

The Minister also noted that the teaching of mathematics needs to be reviewed, observing that while some teachers are very good and creative at teaching the subject, many do not have the basic qualifications to teach it.

“I say this not to embarrass anybody, but as an invitation, because the Ministry of Education wants every teacher of mathematics to upgrade (herself or himself),   and we will help you with the appropriate workshops and additional courses, so that what you do now, can become more fruitful and be better outcomes for your students,” he said.

In the meantime, National Mathematics Coordinator in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Tamika Benjamin, said the Ministry has resolved to change the negative trend in mathematics performance by developing, implementing and sustaining a robust strategy, designed to address the critical factors which are affecting the teaching and learning of the subject.

The strategies include: building the capacity of principals and middle managers; improving teacher and teaching quality by strengthening the capacity of teachers at the primary and secondary levels to support more meaningful learning; improving the quality of pre-service mathematics education; and confronting the cultural fear and the associated negative attitudes which surround the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Dr. Benjamin said that to change attitude,  opportunities must be provided to reduce levels of anxiety, to motivate students, change the belief system of teachers, and to help students see the relevance of the subject to their everyday life experiences.

She explained that the celebration of National Mathematics Week is one aspect of the campaign launched to confront the negative attitudes and the culture of fear and underperformance surrounding the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Dr. Benjamin pointed out that this year’s theme was chosen against the background of discussions surrounding the logistics hub and the emerging job market.  “We recognize that improved mathematics competencies is needed if our people, and by extension our nation, are able to take hold of the many opportunities which are and will be created from several current and future national initiatives,” she said.

Students were able to view booths mounted by organizations, such as Cyber School Technology Solutions, Educo Soft, Jamaica National, Sangsters Book Store, LMH Publishers and their Singaporean partners, Marshall Cavendish, the leading educational publisher in Singapore; College of Agriculture Science and Education, Jamaica Defense Force, Insurance Association of Jamaica, HEART Trust/NTA, Port Authority of Jamaica, Caribbean Maritime Institute, Jamaican Institute of Engineers,  National Meteorological Service, University of Technology (UTech); University of the West Indies (UWI) and many others.