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Barbados - Solving the math problem

posted Jan 15, 2017, 11:55 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul   [ updated Jan 15, 2017, 11:56 AM ]
Authorities in Barbados are confronting poor maths performances among students head on.

This morning officials from the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies and the Ministry of Education launched an on-line teaching project that would place the skills of the island’s best maths teachers at the instant disposal of students all over the island.

This has all resulted from grave concerns about poor student performance annually in the Caribbean Examination Council’s mathematics tests.

The on-line teaching project is aimed at significantly improving academic achievement in this discipline.

It involves participation of the island’s best mathematics teachers, under the guidance of a UWI Cave Hill senior lecturer, and is expected to assist students in acquiring greater mastery of math concepts and, as a result, help them achieve higher exam scores.

“Improved success in mathematics is considered critical to the region’s ability to make major strides in areas of science and technology, which has become a strategic developmental focus as the university assumes a lead role in helping the region to arrest its declining economic fortunes,” said a statement from the campus today.

It is the brainchild of lecturer in physics and electronics, Dr. Janak Sodha, and is the second initiative which he has implemented in recent years to assist students to better understand the fundamentals of mathematics.

Two years ago, the UK-trained academic pioneered a remedial programme for UWI students whose math scores were below par. It fused mathematical concepts with on line animation and multi-media support to make the subject more attractive to students.

According to UWI: “This year only three out of ten students across the region who sat CXC mathematics gained passes and project organisers are confident of improving this dismal performance following today’s launch of uwitube.com, which will provide students with a data base of problem-solving material.

“Through the use of tablet computers, the teachers will create video solutions of math content, with assistance from Sodha, which they will upload to a UWI-operated domain that he will manage. Teachers from 20 secondary schools are involved in the project’s initial phase.”

Sodha said: “Our aim is to place on-line for free, videos that are directly relevant to the CXC mathematics exam and eventually expand this on line resource across the region and onto the more advanced CAPE level, also utilising school teachers from across the Caribbean.”

Berger Paints and CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank are major sponsors of the initiative.