You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2019 03 31Article 734408

Opinions of Sunday, 31 March 2019

Columnist: Theophilus Quaicoe

Misplaced Priorities: The root cause of Ghana's abysmal performance in mathematics

I envisaged a world where creativity was the masterpiece and cornerstone of all the paradigms of nature. A world where the young were the pilots of innovative mental faculty.

An environment where all the elements and variables of nature were tapped into and highly relied upon to reassemble and rejuvenate our investigative spirits. But sadly, all these dreams and imperatives have been trampled upon by the 'harvesters' of our natural pivotal cords of life.

There is a problem! And this problem has hunted our educational system, especially the Junior and Senior High Schools, for a very long time.

The problem is, "students are continuously performing abysmally in Mathematics. Now, this pertinent problem stems from two angles; one is stemming from students and the other, from the teachers.

Africa has failed and is still failing because we lack competent and visionary social policy analysts. Most of our social policy analysts are microscopic. All the major challenges that are hunting Africa are rooted in "our approach of solving problems".

We need social policy analysts who are telescopic and proactive; those who can project into the future, make deep-rooted analysis and design lasting solutions to our societal problems.

Mathematics incorporates three main teaching activities; Mathematical Exercises, Mathematical Problem identification & Analysis and Mathematical Investigation. These three activities are interconnected, interrelated and inter-dependent; therefore, sidelining any of them can cause a very destructive pathology in the performance of students.

But in reality, most teachers focus mainly on Mathematical Exercises, which is the tip of the iceberg; hence leaving the key two activities untouched. Ideally, most of the B.E.C.E and W.A.S.S.C.E questions are set on Mathematical Problem Identification & Analysis and Mathematical Investigation.

Hence, since the students are mostly taught Mathematical Exercises, failure and abysmal performance is mostly the predictable outcome.

The only solution to this pertinent problem is to change our approach and methodology of teaching Mathematics. And this needs stakeholder consultation and collective action. Moreover, our educational curriculum must be strengthened to effectively integrate appropriate teaching and learning materials into our teaching methodologies and activities.