August 16, 2013
Mathematics initiative earmarked for September
The Ministry of Education will be implementing an intensified mathematics programme the 2013/14 academic year in September according to The Jamaica Information Service.
This initiative aims, among other things, to boost Jamaica's performance in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) mathematics examinations.
The intervention, to be undertaken over the short to medium term, is intended to ensure persons teaching mathematics have a sound knowledge of the subject content. It further seeks to ensure that they utilise the most effective methods to engage students in a manner that focuses on developing conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and problem-solving skills.
Portfolio minister, Rev Ronald Thwaites, made the disclosure during a press briefing at the ministry's National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston, where he also outlined details of Jamaica's performance in the 2013 CSEC examinations.
Rev Thwaites, at the secondary level, the undertaking will entail developing and implementing an intensive programme for mathematics teachers to be delivered dually, via the Internet during the school year, and face to face interactive sessions in teacher training institutions on professional-development days and during the summer.
Mathematics-resource teachers will also be deployed to monitor and support programme participants in implementing the strategies developed and addressed in the training sessions.
Additionally, all mathematics heads of department will be trained by the National College for Educational Leadership.
"The training will be designed to strengthen their capacity to manage the curriculum and the mathematics department," Rev Thwaites informed.
At the primary level, focus will be placed on identifying teachers who have the capacity, with the benefit of additional training, to function as school-based Mathematics teachers.
Rev. Thwaites explained that this approach will see the implementation of a quasi-subject teaching approach for mathematics in schools whose performance in the subject fall below the average standard.
"The approach will be applied to schools whose average performance on the grade-four numeracy tests for the period 2010-2013, falls below 50 per cent.
A team of 19 regional mathematics co-ordinators and mathematics specialists will support principals in rearranging the school's programme so that the model can be successfully implemented during the 2013/14 school year," he stated.
The education minister further informed that mathematics resource teachers will be deployed to strengthen the capacity of school-based Mathematics Teachers.
Additionally, the latter will be trained using Information Communication Technology (ICT), alongside traditional face-to-face methods.
Meanwhile, Rev Thwaites said although the Ministry is placing significant emphasis on Mathematics, focus is also being placed on improving the results for English Language.