Tanzania: State Devises Strategy to Improve Mathematics

THE government is crafting measures to improve the performance of students in basic education, especially in mathematics that will include conducting in-service training to teachers and reviving Teachers' Resource Centres (TRCs).

Minister of State in the President's Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG), Ummy Mwalimu revealed that over the weekend in Dar es Salaam, during the launch of a programme to 'Encourage Mathematical Learning and Teaching' (KiuHISABATI) for Ubungo constituency.

"We have recognised that many students find it difficult and ultimately fail mathematics and statistics indicating that last year, in every 100 students, only two students scored A and B, while 75 per cent scored F," she noted.

In addressing the problem, from July this year, the government will launch a programme to improve performance that will comprise among other things, reviving Teachers Resources Centres (TRCs), so that teachers can have a place to learn complex topics and exchange information and experience in teaching mathematics.

Other components in the programme will include printing and distributing mathematics books to all students in the country so that they have individual books for easy reference, besides providing support and encouraging them to study mathematics.

KiuHISBATI is the initiative coordinated and overseen by Ubungo Member of Parliament, Professor Kitila Mkumbo, who is also the Minister for Industry and Trade.

According to a report by HakiElimu published in 2012, the quality of education can be viewed in terms of the student's performance in examinations.

Poor performance in the subject implies that the quality of mathematics education is jeopardised and to improve the quality of mathematics education, the government and stakeholders should find ways to improve students' learning experiences and consequently their performance.

Earlier, Prof Mkumbo said KiuHISABATI is an initiative that will benefit secondary school student from 16 wards of Ubungo District in its first year, but will thereafter, expand to other levels and subjects as well.

"We have decided to start with mathematics because in our daily lives we use it, without mathematics we cannot know the time, we cannot manage our money well, and we cannot make good purchases.

Mathematics is the language of life and the world, almost every discipline requires it," he said Prof Mkumbo further said in the initiative they have put in place various strategies to raise the pass rate in the Ubungo constituency and that his office has planned to fund the in-service teacher training for the constituency. Similarly, the MP pledged that students who get a grade 'A' in the results of Form Four national examinations in Mathematics will be paid Form Five and Six school fees, if he/she joins a public school and will be provided with all the necessary school supplies including school uniforms, textbooks and books.

For Teachers, he said each mathematics teacher will receive 100,000/- for a student who gets a grade 'A' in the results of Form Four national examination and the teacher will receive a certificate of congratulations from the MP.

He said just like other parts of the country the pass rate in Mathematics in secondary schools in Ubungo is still low were with 275 out of 2,334 form four students who sat for Mathematics national exam passed.

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