Education Minister, Rev. the Hon Ronald Thwaites is urging teachers of mathematics to partner with the Ministry in designing the appropriate pedagogy and methodologies to reverse the underperformance of students in mathematics.
The Minister was the keynote speaker on Wednesday April 11 opening of a two-day symposium on numeracy and literacy at the St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College campus in Kingston.
He noted that mastery of numeracy at grade four is only about 40 per cent while only 60 per cent of students performed at “a reasonable level” in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
He said that at the secondary level, the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) results in mathematics reflected “an even more gruesome picture” with passes in the region of 20 per cent.
The Minister stated that the situation is untenable as “mathematics is the gateway to scientific knowledge (and that) adequate literacy and numeracy are keys to the high level of skills certification which is of supreme importance for local and international employment."
He is therefore urging teachers and teacher training institutions to help reverse the negative trend by changing the style and the method of delivery, among other methods.
The Minister commended the St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College for staging the symposium and urged participants to adopt creative ways of teaching mathematics that will spur greater interest in the subject.
The delivery of teaching in the areas of numeracy and literacy are the main areas of focus of the symposium and involves a number of workshops, facilitated by resource persons from the college as well as the University of the West Indies (UWI) Faculty of Humanities and Education.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter