Our Readers' Opinions
August 24, 2007

Mathematics and Science concerns

G E M Saunders 24.AUG.07

Having followed very closely the results of the CXC and A’ level exams over the recent past, there is now no doubt that Mathematics and the Sciences have now assumed a definite dominance over our young students. The negative trends in enrollment and results must be of great concern for our educators and especially for a Government in the midst of an “education revolution”.{{more}}

These poor results in both science and mathematics have undoubtedly led to the gradual decline in enrollment in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics as students opt to shy away from these subjects in order to reduce the probability of failure and to maximize their chances for scholarships in other areas.

This worrying trend however, needs to be first of all acknowledged by our educators. The Prime Minister and education officials cannot be satisfied with the one half of glowing exam results while the numbers in maths and science tell a different story. This serious imbalance between science and the arts and business needs to be corrected.

It will be up to our educators to engage all stakeholders in addressing this weakness in our education system. The entire curriculum, the respective syllabuses and the quality and number of teachers assigned to Mathematics and the Sciences must be analysed.

We must determine why for instance, students with distinctions in CXC Maths will suddenly struggle to get a grade 7 or actually fail first year CAPE Math a few months later. Why is there this great gulf between CXC and CAPE Maths? Why is CAPE Maths such a challenge for teachers and students alike? Why is Math, treated like an outcast, an untouchable when it is considered so vital to our national development?

Why is it that this year’s Physics and Chemistry students had not yet completed the respective A’ level syllabuses one month before the exams? If there are problems with teachers and classroom hours; how about a partnership with private sector individuals in covering specific areas of the syllabus?

These and many more questions need to be answered if we are to address the critical shortage of professionals in areas such as information technology, medicine, engineering, surveying, architecture, project management and so on. Our nation’s future demands that the numbers in these professions are significantly bolstered sooner rather than later.