Maths crisis plagues Jamaica

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites.

KINGSTON — The Ministry of Education has revealed more damning statistics related to the quality of mathematics teaching within the public-education system.

Last week, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites indicated he had been informed that only 16 per cent of the island’s educators who specialise in mathematics are properly trained to teach the subject in the classroom.

During a press conference yesterday, Thwaites revealed that the statistics were taken from the annual school census 2011, titled Document Qualification for Mathematics Teachers.

However, when The Gleaner got a view of the statistics, they showed that the issue is even worse than the figures quoted by the minister.

The report revealed that only 10 per cent of the teachers who are teaching at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level are qualified to do so.

Of the 1,048 persons teaching mathematics at the CSEC level, only 105 have the required qualifications of a combination of both content knowledge and methodology for teaching the subject at CSEC level.

Of the number of teachers in the system, 485 only have teachers’ college diplomas which means, according to the Ministry of Education, those are only qualified to teach up to grade nine.

The report also indicated that the problem also exists at the primary level with 45 per cent of the teachers who are teaching the subject in the primary system failing to pass the subject at CSEC.

At the primary-school level, there are 8,711 teachers but only 5,954 of them, or 69 per cent, are fully qualified to teach the subject.

Speaking during the press conference, Professor Claude Packer, president of The Mico University College, said teachers need to be properly trained in order to teach the subject. (Gleaner)

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