Moves could soon be apace for the reintroduction of subjects that fall under the ambit of Mathematics, to be offered as separate disciplines at the level of the teachers’ training college.
A proposal in this regard was during the past week announced by Ms. Viola Rowe, Principal of the Cyril Potter College of Education [CPCE] – the national teachers’ training college.
Rowe’s disclosure was made as she delivered the Principal’s report at the 83rd CPCE graduation exercise at the National Cultural Centre.
But the call made by the CPCE Principal is not a new one, rather, it is a reiteration of a proposal made in the past. Based on her disclosure, Rowe stressed the need for Geometry, Algebra and Arithmetic to be separate subject disciplines.
According to Rowe, this proposal is being made despite the institution’s awareness that “the comprehensive and robust Caribbean Examinations Council [CXC] Mathematics syllabus seeks to help students to appreciate that the various branches of Mathematics are not rigidly segregated.”
Even as she asserted that CPCE has no intention of mounting a challenge against the CXC approach, Rowe added, “We believe that if done separately, learners would be better able to understand mathematical concepts and their applications.”
She continued, “You would agree with us that there is a need for academic discourse and scientific explorations at the local level to guide our decisions in this regard. I daresay, however that our call is grounded in our experiences from the teaching/learning process in delivering the Mathematics curriculum at CPCE.”
According to Rowe, CPCE’s advocacy in this regard was encouraged by the outstanding performance in Mathematics at the 2017 National Grade Six Assessment [NGSA].
Taking this into consideration, Rowe said, “Permit us to take this opportunity to add our voice in recognition of the hard work done by our teachers, many of whom are products of the College.”
According to the CPCE Principal, because of the outstanding results, teachers were able to demonstrate that as a team the education system has what is needed to make great things happen. She moreover challenged teachers, including the 468 who graduated last week, to not relent in their quest for excellence.
In 2016, the Ministry of Education recorded a 14 percent pass rate in the area of Mathematics. However, because of a deliberate Government-sponsored intervention when the results of the NGSA were released, there was an astounding 46 percent pass rate.
Over the years, the Ministry has been faced with a problem of considerable weakness in the subject area which prompted moves towards an intervening plan, which saw the training of in excess of 1,000 teachers in content and methodology.
This strategic movement also entailed fortnightly cluster meetings in all regions, which were conducted with both public and private schools, according to Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson.
There was also recruitment of Mathematics coordinators and monitors, training of officers and School Administrators to supervise the teaching of Mathematics, and the administering of a diagnostic assessment of pupils in the hinterland regions, prior to training of teachers. Added to this, the intervening measures included enhancement of public relations, parental involvement in the education of children, and acquisition of support materials for students.
This, moreover, allowed for Mathematics to be the most improved subject area characterised by an increase of over 30 percent in the number of candidates gaining 50 percent and more.
Based on Rowe’s disclosure, she is hoping for a phenomenal improvement in Mathematics at CPCE, similar to what was obtained at the level of the NGSA earlier this year.
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