JIS: Five primary schools are benefiting from a three-year Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP) being piloted by The Mico University College, which is aimed at improving student achievement in the subject.
The institutions are Allman Town, Clan Clarthy, and John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High in Kingston and St. Andrew; Devon Primary in Manchester; and Mineral Heights Primary in Clarendon.
The programme, which got under way in September 2017, incorporates innovative strategies observed in mathematically high-achieving countries such as Hungary, Finland, Singapore, Russia and Japan, to impact the teaching and learning of mathematics at the primary level of the education system.
Students in 15 grade-one classes in the five primary schools are currently benefiting from the programme. Thereafter, it will be piloted in 15 grade-two classes and 15 grade-three classes in the same schools, commencing in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
At the end of the pilot project, a comparative analysis will be done to determine its impact and whether it can be expanded to other schools.
MEP is being administrated through the Caribbean Centre of Excellence in Mathematics Teaching (CCEMaT) at The Mico.
The Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CiMT) at Plymouth University in the United Kingston (UK), which developed the MEP concept, is also assisting in its implementation locally.
At a press briefing at The Mico’s Marescaux Road headquarters earlier this week, the institution’s principal, Dr. Asburn Pinnock, expressed the hope that the programme will help students to develop a love for maths and inspire them towards higher achievement.
He said mastery of maths will open new job prospects for the country’s young people.
“Mathematics plays an important role in the fields of science and technology and, of course, engineering, No longer are we thinking about the traditional medicine and law, but we are looking for the new jobs,” he contended.
Director, CiMT, Professor David Burghes, said he is excited to bring the programme to Jamaica, and he hopes the country’s students and educators will benefit in a major way.
“We are a maths centre. We’re dedicated to trying to help teachers particularly, but also learners, to enhance their mathematics. It’s great that we will be working with CCEMaT. We have worked with them before, and although this is a small project, I think it’s one of great significance,” he noted.
He said that Jamaica has a general problem-solving issue with mathematics, which he hopes the project will address.
“I think we do need to look at problem-solving as a whole and be quite specific by what we mean by it. We need to do mathematics as well as read and write. I do think you have some good teachers, because I’ve seen them and have been in their classrooms,” Professor Burghes said.
MEP will ensure that teachers’ subject knowledge in mathematics is fully developed before commencing the programme, and provide all participating teachers with continuing professional development to ensure that they are equipped with the requisite skills to effectively integrate the MEP resources in their mathematics lessons.
It will also provide each student with individualised MEP materials and resources and provide teachers with access to an online database furnished with supporting materials, suggested learning activities and lessons, to effectively integrate MEP in their classrooms.
CAPTION: Principal, The Mico University College, Dr. Asburn Pinnock, addresses a press briefing at the university in Kingston, to provide details about the Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP), being implemented by The Mico’s Caribbean Centre of Excellence in Mathematics Teaching (CCEMaT).