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  • Minister of Education, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is hailing the private sector partnership in the push towards achieving an overall improvement in student performance in mathematics.
  • He was speaking on Monday, July 13, at the opening of a seminar on the Singapore Method of Teaching Mathematics, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
  • The two-day seminar is the joint initiative of the Ministry of Education, LMH Publishing and Marshall Cavendish Education and aims to introduce Singaporean best practices in the teaching and learning of mathematics to primary and secondary school educators.

Minister of Education, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is hailing the private sector partnership in the push towards achieving an overall improvement in student performance in mathematics.

He was speaking on Monday, July 13, at the opening of a seminar on the Singapore Method of Teaching Mathematics, at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.

The two-day seminar is the joint initiative of the Ministry of Education, LMH Publishing and Marshall Cavendish Education and aims to introduce Singaporean best practices in the teaching and learning of mathematics to primary and secondary school educators.

Rev. Thwaites said that while the Ministry continues to put strategies in place to improve outcomes in mathematics, it welcomes the intervention from the private sector.

“We are open. We have no religion on effective methodology. What we are filled with is a burning desire to do better than what we are doing now,” he said.

“This partnership highlights the importance of using a joint approach involving the public and private sectors to provide financial, human and technical resources and I cherish the involvement of the sponsors,” he added.

He said the Ministry embraces the initiative as part of the overall National Mathematics Programme, “which aims to realise the target of 85 per cent of the age cohort sitting CSEC [Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate] and 85 per cent mastery of numeracy by the Grade Four cohort by 2018.”

Some 150 persons, inclusive of Ministry specialists, school principals, mathematics teachers, and heads of departments are participating in the seminar.

Discussion over the two days will focus on: the ‘Singapore Education Landscape in 2020’; ‘Mathematics instruction and its role in developing problem-solving and visualization skills’; ‘Challenges faced in Singapore in enacting the primary math curriculum’; and ‘Use of assessment to differentiate instruction’.

Singapore is the acknowledged world leader in mathematics and the Singapore Method of Teaching Mathematics is used in over 50 countries, including the United States and Britain.

Minister Thwaites pointed out that the Ministry has been advancing several initiatives to promote improvements in the qualification of mathematics teachers.

He informed that 84 mathematics specialists have been deployed to targeted secondary and primary schools to provide coaching and hands-on assistance to teachers. This intervention is to run for four years at an average annual cost of over $300 million.

The Ministry has also supported a number of in-service training sessions for teachers and has an ongoing summer training programme targeted at under-qualified teachers. Over 800 teachers have been trained through this approach.

Rev. Thwaites further noted that the Ministry has approached “with some indication of success,” several local foundations that support education with the goal of creating immediate and medium-term scholarships for the upgrading of the qualifications of mathematics teachers.

The sponsors of the seminar include Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Culture Health Arts Science and Education (CHASE) Fund, Jamaica Producers Group Ltd, YP Seaton & Associates and Clickmarket.