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‘Too much’


King Michael

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PRESIDENT of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman says the marks in mathematics in this year’s Common Entrance Examination could have been better with a less congested syllabus.
“The feedback I have received from my maths colleagues is that the syllabus is too wide at the primary level so that less time is being spent teaching the basics of maths.
“The children don’t have the time to grasp the basics because of the nature of the syllabus. They are taught many things that should best be left for high school,” she said.
In this year’s exam, the national average was 51.4 per cent, down from the 2009 average of 54.1.
More than 40 per cent of the students who were tested in fractions which covered all three maths papers failed to score any marks in this area.
“There are too many concepts to be covered in the syllabus. It should be less wide in its scope. The children should be able to focus more on the mastery of basic mathematical skills. That would allow for more effective application of skills at the secondary level,” Redman said
In relation to secondary school, she said the time had come for a paradigm shift where technical and vocational subjects were given as much importance as the academic courses.
“The Ministry [of Education] needs to refocus its policy on subject offerings in schools so that allocation of students would allow for them to go where their competences and intelligences can best be accommodated with programmes that allow them to succeed and to feel at the end a valued person that is able to contribute positively to the society,” she said.
President of the Barbados National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations, Rhonda Blackman, said principals needed to realise they should use their most solid teachers in infants class.
Blackman, a former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados, said: “Sometimes we see junior teachers being assigned to the infants section but that may not always be the best thing. Common Entrance does not begin in Class 3 and 4. It is from the time the child enters school.”

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