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Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Grace McLean, said that Jamaicans need to develop a love and appreciation for mathematics, noting that the subject area is just as important as reading.  

"Many Jamaicans do not love mathematics. In fact, there is almost a tacit agreement among Jamaicans that it is alright not to be good at mathematics. We need to change that perception; we need to create a society where being innumerate is shameful, just as shameful as not being unable to read. So literacy and numeracy must go hand in hand," Mrs. McLean said.

She was speaking at the launch of the 19th staging of the Butterkist National Primary Schools Mathematics Competition today (February 23) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.
Mrs. McLean noted that the annual competition, which is sponsored by Seprod Group, will help inculcate a love of mathematics.

She commended Seprod for "taking on this charge another year when we are really struggling as a country to meet our various expenditure and has decided to launch this competition once more, so that our little boys and girls can advance in their preparation for the various examinations as they prepare to take their rightful places in society."

Chief Operating Officer of Seprod Group, Carl Domville, stated the competition "can only help in the progress of our children's educational achievement and by extension our economic development."

He said that in some of the most productive countries in the world are children, who perform at high levels in mathematics and Jamaica needs to duplicate those levels of success by "encouraging our children to strive to excel in the subject and to ensure that our education system has enough resources to provide our youngsters with the right foundation in mathematics".

President Elect, Jamaica Teacher's Association, Paul Adams, in adding his words of commendation, said that knowledge of mathematics was important to productivity.

"What we need to do in schools is that the children need to be convinced it is not that you need mathematics to pass an exam, but you need mathematics in order to live," Mr. Adams stated.

Primary schools across the island are being invited to participate in the Butterkist National Primary Schools Mathematics Competition, which is geared at promoting excellence in mathematics.

The deadline for the submission of entries is Friday, March 18, and the contest will be staged on Thursday, May 12 at centres across the island.

The prize-giving ceremony is scheduled to take place in Kingston on Friday,

June 10, where winners, parish champions and teachers will receive in excess of $300,000 in prizes and trophies.

CONTACT: LATONYA LINTON