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Government Institutes Remedial Measures To Avoid Poor Performance In Mathematics, Science   
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The Minister of Education, Prof. Jane Nana Opoku-Agyemang has said Government is concerned about the large number of failures in mathematics at both the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and Senior High School levels and is therefore collaborating with institutions that are specialised in improving the capacity of teachers of the subjects to help improve standards of students.

She indicated that the effort to improve the teaching standards is not limited to public schools but also to the private ones as well since not all products from the private schools are versed in the subject and need to be improved because ‘… at the end of the day, they are our children, their performance impacts on the society as a whole.’

Speaking at the end of a two-week mathematics workshop organized by the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Foundation in collaboration with Meagasa Mathematics Academy for 151 mathematics teachers drawn from Northern, Central and Western Regions in Accra on Friday, the minister admitted that “underperformance in secondary education, especially in mathematics and science poses a challenge to most countries”.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang said the ministry has prioritised the teaching of mathematics and science subjects in schools since 2013 through the provision of various incentives to the teachers but still the results have not been the best.

Some of the problems inhibiting the ability of students to pass the subject, she noted, have been identified as inadequate mastery of critical foundation skills which later poses a challenge to students at the higher level such as poor teaching methodologies; inadequate numbers of mathematics and science teachers in addition to inadequate teaching and learning materials for the teachers of the two subjects.

She said Government has prioritised mathematics and science teaching at both the basic and secondary levels through recommendations made by the Professor Anamuah Mensah Committee.

One of such recommendations, she noted, includes the engagement of renowned mathematicians like Professor Sitsofe Anku and others to re-train and transform mathematics teachers across the country, she explained.

This has resulted in the training of 350 mathematics teachers across the country while various science resource centres across the country are being re-equipped as new ones are being built.

According to Nana Opoku-Agyeman, about 125 lowest performing schools across the country are being given priority attention through the training of their mathematics and science teachers, introduction of ICT in the teaching and learning process in addition to improvement in school management.

The minister explained that another project being worked on is the Transforming Teaching and Learning (T-TEL) project which involves the review of the curriculum of the colleges of education and other tangential issues.

She revealed that the ministry is in the process of engaging stakeholders in the education sector to discuss the continuing decline in the academic performance at the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) examinations.

Another plan, she revealed is to record and screen on telecast mathematics classes of the good performing schools on national television.

This, she noted, will create an opportunity for students and teachers across the country to learn new methods.

The ministry is also in talks with the examination authorities to create an opportunity for failed candidates to re-sit the examinations in November, she disclosed.

The course prefect, Sherifatu Mohammed, speaking on behalf of the 151 participants at the workshop, expressed their appreciation of the in-service training programme and made suggestions as to how to improve themselves and also pass on the knowledge to their students. They asked for special incentives especially for mathematics and science teachers in the rural areas while appealing for a different approach to how teachers are transferred from one school to another.

The participants called for reducing the number of subjects on mathematics teachers who are most times saddled with teaching other science subjects in addition to their core subject.

Professor Sitsofe E. Anku, President of Ghana Mathematics Society challenged the participants to employ the transformational methods taught them to get their students interested in the subject.

He said caning students for not doing well in the subject rather makes them avoid the subject and detest school.

He, therefore, urged teachers to break the mental barrier that mathematics is a difficult subject and that girls cannot read it.

The mathematics professor announced that the mathematical association of Ghana has adopted February 14 as the National Mathematics Day.
Source: The General Telegraph

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