Nations Flagship Math skills building project launched

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 24, 2011 (SKNIS): If you are a High School Student Having Problems with Math, “Hang In There” – Help is on the Way! This was the message delivered to students when the National Math Olympiad was launched at the Curriculum Development Unit’s Conference Room on Tuesday.

Mr. Ian Morson Chairperson of the Implementation Committee said the objective of the March to December 2011 Olympiad, is to assist students with Math via non-conventional, fun methods.”Math is the basis of most other activities we participate in.” Mr. Morson said, “Understanding Math would go along way in helping us to understand a lot of other things around us and it is a building block for a lot of what goes on in the student’s life”.

Two specific outcomes are, to improve the problem solving strategies of students as well as to improve their math scores when they graduate high school.

The programme comprises four components, including the Olympiad which involves individual students and schools competing in solving math problems; teacher training workshops; a ten event Math Decathlon as well as a televised competition.

Chief Education Officer Dr. Patrick Welcome told the gathering that the success of the programme lay in training teachers to deliver Math concepts to students. In an exuberant presentation, he said the teacher’s attitude would go a long way in helping to shape student’s perception of math.

“Students should become so excited about Math that they don’t even realize they are doing Math”, Dr. Welcome Said, “This is the basis on which lies the success of this non-traditional problem solving activity.”

Secretary General of the National Commission For UNESCO, Antonio Maynard said, “The original concept of the proposal which was submitted to the National Commission For UNESCO by Education Officer responsible for Sciences, Lenrick Lake, was to popularize and simplify the teaching and learning of Math. “Maynard revealed that UNESCO provided E.C. $67000 through its participation programme for 2010/2011 to implement the very important initiative.

He highlighted the reason for the success of the project as far as its approval from UNESCO’s standpoint. “Capacity building in Science, Technology and Innovation is a priority area in UNESCO’s programme and budget for this current bi-annual period. UNESCO believes that competence enhancement in Science in particular can be achieved through a major focus on Mathematics education and on teacher training in Mathematics,” said Maynard.

Author of the Project, Lenrick Lake referred to the impact the African- Egyptians had had on the development of Mathematics as a means of motivation to current students. Referring to the Egyptians as brown skinned people, Mr. Lake recalled the high level of problem solving skills employed by them through ‘trial and error’ which became the basis of problem solving as we know it today, both in Mathematics and in other aspects of life.

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