By Tenson Zobo
Minister of Education Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano has said the flourishing numeracy national conferences on students’ performance in Mathematics at Primary School Leaving Certificate Examination (PSLCE), Junior Certificate Examination (JCE) and Malawi School Certificate Examination (MSCE) in Malawi offers an opportunity to improving the poor education standards in the country.
Speaking during the official opening of the two days Numeracy National Conference Centered at Lilongwe yesterday, Fabiano said the performance of students for the examination for the past three years: 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Mathematics has been poor.
“Analysis of MANEB results revealed that general performance of students in Mathematics is well below 40% mark that is expected to be scored by an average student who has been taught the material, the results also revealed that male students perform better than their female counterparts, the quality of the performance is poor”, revealed Fabiano
He also said that analysis of student’ scripts revealed that students perform well in questions that recall of knowledge, there is an individual responding of question, less absenteeism and students from some schools perform better than students from other schools. Possibly because not much reasoning is involved, they are sensitized of the effects of cheating, PSLCE is considered as an entrance examination to secondary school.
He further urged teachers to be competent and committed to teach students by actively involving the community and not forgetting the parents to ensure that critical Mathematical skill and knowledge is achieved against failures in Mathematics (leaving some questions unanswered and or partly answered, failure to write numbers in words or figures, failure to interpret the diagrams and graphs, answering a construction question without Mathematical instruments, failure to apply basic Mathematical concepts to solve word problems and or to draw relevant conclusions in geometry)
Director for Save the Children Mathew Pickard advised officials in the Ministry to consider training more Mathematics teachers and open possible early Mathematical development schools to ensure that children have Mathematical background knowledge, Mathematical language. The idea is helpful as it will help children to mastery of Mathematical concepts and skills emanating from lack of practice and through coverage of the syllabus hence obtaining early grades in Mathematics Arena.
Mathematics Chief Examiner during panel discussion broadcast live at Zodiak Radio admits that education standards and status of Mathematics is at sorry state due to failure to address key note in education sector hence numeracy conference. Therefore, he urged all stakeholders ranging from academia, Economist, Farmers, Doctors and many other to join hands in fighting Mathematical illiteracy.