JIS News

Story Highlights

  • An intensified Mathematics programme will be implemented to address the continued poor performance in the subject
  • Behind targets for Mathematics established in the National Education Strategic Plan
  • 40 per cent of the teachers at the secondary level are unqualified mathematics teachers

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has announced that come the start of the new academic year in September, an intensified Mathematics programme will be implemented to address the continued poor performance in the subject.

“The central objective of the programme is to ensure that persons engaging our children in the teaching and learning of the content are most effective,” the Minister said.

Rev. Thwaites was delivering the keynote address at the Ministry of Education, Region 4 Stakeholders’ Back-to-School Conference 2013, at the Grand Palladium Hotel and Resort in Lucea, Hanover, on August 15.

The Minister indicated that in the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) examination results which were released earlier this week, there was an increase in passes in some 25 of 35 subject areas.

“There has been nearly a 5 per cent increase in Mathematics passes over last year’s outcome, which indicates that 42.2 per cent of candidates who took the exam passed.  This means that 1,100 more students passed than last year.  The Ministry is however, not satisfied with the outcomes relating to these passes in Mathematics as well as similar results in English, as they are both important for economic growth and development,” the Minister said.

He said Jamaica has much ground to cover, if the country is to attain the targets for Mathematics established in the National Education Strategic Plan, which outlines 85 per cent mastery at Grade 4; 80 per cent of students attaining 65 per cent or more in Mathematics on the Grade 6 Achievement Test and 100 per cent of the Grade 11 cohort sitting CSEC Mathematics by 2016.

“We are behind in these targets and our students continue to register poor performance in Mathematics due to several factors.  A significant cause is that many teachers at the primary and secondary levels of the education system are not fully equipped to effectively support the teaching and learning of the subject,” Rev. Thwaites said.

“The results of the 2011 Ministry of Education census showed that only 9 per cent of teachers of mathematics at the secondary level are qualified to teach the subject to Grade 11, while some 40 per cent of the teachers at the secondary level are unqualified mathematics teachers, as they are trained in other areas of specialization; and 39 per cent of teachers at the primary level have no secondary mathematics certification,” the Minister noted.

Rev. Thwaites  said the National Mathematics Policy Guidelines, scheduled to be implemented in September, is central to the Ministry’s response to the critical status of Mathematics in Jamaica.

More than 300 Principals and Board Chairmen attended the Back-to- School Conference, which was held under the theme: ‘Leadership with a mission: Developing a culture of performance’.