In the Daily Graphic of 26th March 2009 was the report
that over 135,000 students had failed in the WASSCE 2008
mathematics. Where are these students? Many have failed
before them, and many are going to fail this year! Do we
have to sit down, seemingly unconcerned to see the lives
of these young ones, the future of Ghana, truncated?
They need a pass in mathematics to continue with
their lives in whatever further courses they want to
pursue. And a pass in mathematics is required but they
have failed so they cannot further their education. Can
we imagine the frustrations of these students? I meet a
lot of them with their parents and the bitterness in
them is not good for Ghana.
Canít anything be
done about it? Yes, something can be done! There is a
solution, and it is being offered by Ghana Mathematics
Society. We have identified the teaching of mathematics
as part of the problem. We need massive professional
development in content and pedagogy for teachers.
Teachers must learn how to create a friendly atmosphere
in the mathematics classroom, introduce practical
mathematics, and show the relevance of all topics in
mathematics to real life situations. We need to revisit
the pre-tertiary mathematics curriculum to remove
redundancies and provide coherence across the
educational levels. We need teachers trained in
mathematics (instead of the so-called general teachers)
to teach mathematics at the basic levels, where the fear
for mathematics and the dislike for the subject begin.
We need to promote fun games in mathematics; may be Miss
Mathematics and Mr. Mathematics contests to be sponsored
by corporate Ghana. It should be mandatory for all
pre-tertiary schools to form mathematics clubs to engage
in some outdoor mathematics activities.
Mathematics is not a monster! It is friendly, lovable,
doable and applicable to all human activities. Evidence
of these abounds at the Meagasa Mathematics Academy at
Lashibi. Mathematics is important and we need a
commonplace use of its principles and methods to ensure
the efficiency of all our developmental efforts.
Letís help these students to enjoy mathematics and pass
it so that they donít increase the numbers in the
streets. Idle hands and minds in the streets can become
a time bomb, which when it explodes will be very
devastating. They say a stitch in time saves nine!.