Govt wants solution to Maths rejection by students
By Hannah Mwandoloma
The Government has challenged local mathematicians, through the Mathematical Association of Tanzania (MAT), to carry out a thorough research to look into underlying reasons that make most students dislike Mathematics in schools.
Education and Vocational Training deputy minister Mwantumu Mahiza threw the challenge yesterday in Dar es Salaam on the occasion of `pi Day,` marked on March 14 of each year to celebrate a mathematical constant 3.14, popularly known as `pi`, which was first used by ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.
She charged MAT to study the matter and submit recommendations to the ministry for further action.
In a speech read on her behalf by the ministry`s assistant director of secondary education Dickson Ndabise, Mahiza said the research should help government and other stakeholders come up with a relevant solution to the problem.
``I believe Mathematics experts can recommend better teaching techniques, so that students can learn the subject like any other,`` said Mahiza.
She urged students to like Mathematics, saying if they worked hard, the subject wouldn`t be as tough as many people perceived.
However, Mahiza asked teachers to use a participatory approach in teaching the subject, so that students felt that they were part of the learning process, thereby understand the topics better and easily.
She named lack of enough classrooms as a big challenge in education development in the country, as one classroom accommodated up to a hundred students on average, contrary to the 40 to 45-student national standard.
``It is difficult not only for students, but also for teachers in such an environment,`` she said, adding: \"So this is a challenge that we, the government and other stakeholders, need to address.``
MAT chairperson Ng\'wanasumayi Wajimila said the aim of marking the day was motivating all Mathematics stakeholders to keep up the good work, especially encouraging students to like the subject.
A Standard Six student of Uhuru Girls` Primary School in dar es Salaam, Irene Cosmas, said Mathematics was not as tough as many students thought, adding that if students concentrated and put more efforts on it, it wouldn`t scare them.
Initiator of the `pi Day` idea in the country Beniel Seka said he was proud to witness for the fourth time the event observed in Tanzania.
Hivi hii ni kwa wanafunzi peke yao? Kama walimu wenyewe wanakacha kufundisha hili somo GUMU, tunategemea nini kutoka kwa wanafunzi? Wahindi hivi wamefanikiwa vipi maana inaelekea kule wanatoa wataalamu wengi wa hisabati? Ikiwa jamii yenyewe, kuanzia wazazi na ndugu zake, inamueleza huyu mwanafunzi kuwa hili ni somo gumu ataacha kulikimbia? Pengine kuna haja ya kuangalia sera nzima ya elimu na namna mwanafunzi anavyopata elimu kuanzia chekechea. Kuna nchi nyingine walimu hufundisha masomo yote na anaenda na darasa analolifundisha kuanzia darasa la kwanza mpaka hapo wanapoingia ngazi nyingine ( sekondari n.k.). Hii inamuwezesha kuunganisha somo la hesabu na masomo mengine na kumfanya mwanafunzi kuliogopa kama somo maana anaona kuwepo kwake katika hayo masomo mengine anayoyamudu. Na mwalimu vilevile anaweza kujua udhaifu na nguvu za wanafunzi wake across the board! Inakuwa rahisi zaidi kujenga confidence ya mwanafunzi ambaye ni mzito katika hisabati kwa vile unajua ni mkali wa historia. Pengine hii itasaidia. Na kwa vile walimu watalazimika kufundisha masomo yote, hapatakuwa na hii kasumba ya kuspeshelaiz kuanzia mwanzo. Cha msingi ni kumfundisha mwanafunzi apende elimu, awe mdadisi na asiogope challenges. Mkazo wetu kwenye hii speshelaizesheni na kufundisha kwa rota kunachangia kwa kiasi kikubwa kwenye hali hii.
Darasa la wanafunzi 40-45 bado ni kubwa mno kwa mwalimu kumudu. Idadi ya juu kabisa naamini kuwa ni 30 ingawa kwa wenzetu hata 25 inaonekana kuwa ni kubwa. Pamoja na kuangalia ukubwa wa madarasa ni muhimu vile vile kuangalia ujenzi na 'design' ya hizi shule. Shule zijengwe zikizingatia mazingira bora ya kufundishia. Madarasa yawe na mwanga wa kutosha ( natural light) hewa ya kutosha na salama ( sio kuweka magrili kila mahali kiasi kwamba pakitokea moto watoto wanakosa pa kukimbilia) na rangi za kuvutia. Pawe na uhusiano na mazingira ya nje, nchini kwetu matumizi ya courtyards yangesaidia na kadhalika na kadhalika. Vyote hivi haina maana ya kuongeza gharama bali ni kubadilisha mtizamo wetu na kuipa kweli heshima inayostahili sekta hii muhimu.
Kwenye hili la mwisho, sina matumaini makubwa ukiangalia jinsi hata hotuba yenyewe ilivyokuwa deputised, kutoka kwa waziri, katibu mkuu, mkurugenzi hadi mkurugenzi msaidizi! wote wakubwa hawakuona umuhimu.