Maths results worry dean
DEAN?OF?the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr Colin Depradine, has expressed concern about declining mathematics results both at the Common Entrance (11 Plus) and Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
Speaking yesterday morning at a workshop of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College on the topic: Science Teacher Readiness for 21st Century Classrooms, Depradine said there could be no science and technology skills without maths.
“If a child has a bad experience in mathematics in the early stages growing up, it is very unlikely he or she will view science in a positive way. Science depends heavily on mathematics, without mathematics there can be no science. It is as simply as that.
“We have our own maths problems at UWI and we realise we need to face them as well but the research clearly demonstrates that a bad experience in maths can really set back a child in how he or she views science and determine if it is a waste of time,” he said.
Depradine said that research had shown that the earlier a child was exposed to science and technology, the better.
“There can be no too early. Research has shown that having students exposed at the primary school level, the better the cause for science and technology.
“I am concerned with the maths results. I wouild really want to seen an improvement in that area,” Depradine noted, adding that some sci-tech students were entering UWI with weak maths skills.
Before an audience that included Erdiston principal Barbara Parris and deputy principal Patricia Saul, Depradine said the time had come for Barbados to stamp its presence with a model of its own.
“We have been spending a considerable amount of time observing what other people are doing. At one stage, we spoke about the Singapore model, then there was talk about the Irish model, now I am hearning about the Kenyan model and while there have been studying and succeeding, we are still looking.
“The one thing there all have in common is that while there have adopted the best practices to suit their own particular need. We know what the best practices are, we know what other people are doing, we just need to tailor it to suit our cultural and social needs in our particular circumstance,” he said.
Depradine said it was no more difficult to teach science than any other subject.
“The reality is, science is expensive. It isn’t cheap. A science faculty will obviously cost more to run than a history faculty because we have much more equipment but it is not harder to teach.
“Science and?technology has an advantage that many subjects don’t have, the hands-on part, the applied part, something that the youngsters love to do at a young age, and so we take advantage of that,” he said.