Nevis’ Education Department hosts first Math Bowl

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NIA Charlestown Nevis — Charlestown Secondary School (CSS) first form students Ercha Stapleton and Kelly Zheng and second form students Indra Joylall and Gabriella Brantley are the winners of the first Lower Secondary School Math Bowl sponsored by the RBC/Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT) Ltd.

The hope that the competition would translate into an enthusiasm for Math, when the students return to their respective schools and after they leave school, was expressed by Palsy Wilkin, the Principal Education Officer in the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) Department of Education, as she made remarks at the event’s opening ceremony, on February 06, 2014.

“All career fields utilise Math, whether Sports, Business, Medicine, Agriculture, Technology, or Construction. So it doesn’t matter what career you choose, you will benefit from a solid foundation in Math. It shapes your logical thinking and reasoning. In the professional world, persons with strong analytical skills and extensive math and science experience are the highest paid workers.

“Therefore, this activity is just one of the ways we intend to boost the teaching and language of mathematics in our schools,” she said.

The Math Bowl was part of the Department of Education’s response to a challenge made last year, by the island’s Premier and Minister of Education Hon. Vance Amory, to make a concerted effort to raise the level of skill in the application and the understanding of Mathematics and thereby, break the cycle of underperformance in the subject area.

He noted that 65 percent of students in St. Kitts and Nevis left school without the basic qualification in Mathematics and it was his Ministry’s intention to break that trend. According to the Education Minister, the rehiring of Mathematics Coordinator Sylvia Fahie was one of the measures his Ministry had undertaken in an effort to re-ignite an interest in Mathematics, among the island’s students.

“That is why, at the insistence of the Education Department, we decided to re-employ Mrs. Fahie to guide the process. Mrs. Fahie worked with the Nevis Island Administration in the 2000s before she went away to do further studies to sharpen and improve and enhance her own skills in the teaching of Mathematics.

“We are here to get Mrs. Fahie to use her considerable skill and knowledge to help our teachers to help our children to break this cycle of underperformance…

“The effort of Mrs. Fahie and the Education Department, I am sure, will spark a large flame in the breasts of our children and will encourage all of you to dream and to have a desire to aspire to excellence in the performance in your Mathematics…It is my hope that this spark, with the essential interest, will make a breakthrough as we want you to become excellent students,” he said.

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