Minister of Education Ronald Jones is contending that some of the nation’s teachers exhibit a strong dislike for Mathematics, which in turn impacted on the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination results.
Speaking at an awards ceremony and presentation for the Electricity and Renewable Energy Science Exposition at the Ministry of Education yesterday, Jones said his ministry had recognized that there were teachers “who have an aversion to Mathematics”.
“We want our young people to have full appreciation for Mathematics. I think sometimes it is what teachers bring as well that can affect how children learn, how children respond,” he said.
In announcing yesterday’s results, the minister revealed that the national average in Mathematics had fallen by 2.17 points from 50.47 per cent last year to 48.3 per cent in 2016.
Today, he said the ministry was looking at ways to modify the teaching methods for Mathematics and sciences.
“We have outlined some plans to take every teacher who teaches through a rigorous relearning process, preparing them to deliver in the classroom and to move some in the primary school into math specialization,” Jones said.
Jones also warned that if teachers were lackadaisical, uncertain, lacked confidence or failed to command the classroom space, their students would tune off.
“They may look wide awake but they are going to shut down on you. So don’t care how you try, don’t care how you coerce, you are not going to get much from that level of behaviour which you show.”
He said if students had a weak Mathematics foundation at the primary level, the problem would continue at secondary level and would manifest itself in the examination.
There were several complaints from students following the May 3 examination, that the Mathematics paper was difficult. There were also suggestions that there were inaccuracies in the paper.
However, Jones restated the position he expressed tuesday when he released the results, that there was nothing wrong with the paper, adding that some students likely did not understand some of the questions.