A local group is putting a programme in place to help Barbadian students who are sitting the 11-Plus examination perform better in Mathematics.
The initiative, Mathfanatix, is being introduced by JCI Barbados and will initially target 45 students in 11 primary schools across St Michael, Christ Church and St James, who will be sitting the exams next year.
“The aim of this project is to ensure these children get the attention they need to do better in the Common Entrance Exams in 2015, but more so, to make sure that each student grows up and functions independently and intelligently to take Barbados forward in the future,” said project chairperson Gabrielle Gibson during the official launch at the Ocean Two resort on Friday.
The programme will start on September 13 and goes until April 25, 2015, with lessons being held at the Ellerslie Secondary School and the Christ Church Parish Church.
Each class, which will have a maximum of five students to one teacher, will utilize the voluntary services of present and past teachers as well as individuals who have a degree in Mathematics.
Outlining the components of the programme, Gibson said the organization was aiming to get children to “think of Maths as a fun subject” and essentially develop “a well-rounded population”.
“It has been publicly announced over the last three years that there were declining Maths marks at the Common Entrance level. This issue was raised as far back as 2010,” she noted.
This year the average score for the mandatory subject was 57.6 per cent, marginally better than last year’s results but worse than the two previous years.
Gibson said: “To see the reverse trend to this detrimental issue in Barbados Mathfanatix was adopted this year by JCI Barbados. Mathfanatix’s plan of action will be to raise fun, creativity, learning and an understanding of and improvement of grades in Maths. This will be done using three components; tutorial sessions on Saturdays, online math programmes Conqourmaths and a competition.”
Students will also get free counseling services. The competition will be opened to all primary schools.
Noting the importance of Mathematics in every day life, president of JCI Barbados Abena Agard said unfortunately that subject had “a reputation of being too hard to understand”.
She said, however, that “JCI Barbados is driven by the need to make positive change and this is extremely important as we launch Mathfanatix, which seeks to reverse the downward trend seen in this subject in the common entrance over the last decade”.
The major sponsors of the programme are Signia Financial Group and Deloitte and Touche. Organizers say they are hoping to expand the programme over the coming years.