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Fifteen non-traditional high schools are to participate in a pilot project aimed at improving the number of passes in mathematics in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
The Higher Passes Project in Mathematics, which was launched on Monday (November 8) at the Girl Guides Headquarters in Kingston, will assist students to become familiar with the actual problems, solutions and methodologies to be successful in the examination.
It is being undertaken by publishers and mathematics experts, Jewell Spencer and Donovan Dowie, who have also penned the guidebook: ‘How to Pass Mathematics at CXC/CSEC’, which will be a key tool in the project.
Mrs. Spencer said the decision to write the book and embark on the project followed feedback from a series of mathematics workshops. She said it was observed that many students were unable to successfully apply what they had learnt during years of instruction, to pass the examination.

Authors of the book ‘How to Pass Mathematics at CXC/CSEC’, Donovan Dowie (left), and Jewell Spencer, explain its contents to Tarrant High School student, Shaquille Mills (2nd right), and Jamaica National Group Marketing, Promotions and Sales Executive, Leon Mitchell, at the launch of the Higher Passes Project in Mathematics on November 8 at the Girl Guides Headquarters in Kingston.

She explained that the book is “not a textbook but an aid, which would give students guidelines on how to work through (problems) using a step-by-step approach, while in the examination”.
Head of the Mathematics Department at Tarrant High, one of the schools participating in the project, Kenneith Subratie, commended the organisers, noting that the project would be useful for both teachers and students.
He said that mathematics will continue to be a problem for students as long as they are unable to grasp the key concepts. Mr. Subratie urged parents and teachers not to be impatient with students but to work towards helping them to clear the hurdles to their understanding of the subject.
Opposition Spokesman on Education, Senator Basil Waite, who also attended the launch, said that mathematics should not be feared by students, but embraced, as it is a “highly marketable” subject area.

Tarrant high School students (L-R) Shaquille Mills, Shaneek Richards and Romain Small are engrossed in the book ‘How to Pass Mathematics at CXC/CSEC’, as they await the start of the official launch of the Higher Passes Project in Mathematics on November 8 at the Girl Guides Headquarters, in Kingston.

The schools participating in the project are: Charlie Smith, Clan Carthy, Denham Town, Gaynstead, Mona, Norman Manley, Pembroke Hall, Penwood, Tarrant, Tivoli Gardens and Trench Town high in Kingston; Bridgeport, Cumberland and Greater Portmore high in St. Catherine; and Spalding High in Clarendon.
The schools will be supplied with a set of books, which will be used by teachers to guide students during lessons.
In August, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) reported significant improvements in mathematics passes for Jamaica, however, the subject remains one of the poorest areas of performance by Jamaican students.