By Bernice Bessey
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Deputy Minister for Education in charge of Basic and Secondary Education, has launched the Mezzo maths programme to help boost the study of mathematics at the lower level.
The programme was launched under the theme “Mathematics; the fuel for National Development” last weekend in Accra to break the myth of mathematics.
The programme is designed help students at the lower level of education to overcome the fear of mathematics, as well as support them to be critical thinkers.
The Deputy Minister, in an interview with the media, stated that mathematics was not something that students must be shying away from, adding that mathematics is the most easy subject.
According to him, the Mezzo Maths method is one way that the fear of mathematics among students can be tackled, since it helps the pupils to calculate figures without calculators.
“We have realised that what pushes people to develop faster is mathematics. Without maths you cannot be an engineer, pharmacist, medical doctor and many other professions.
“We are urging the pupils to put in their best to learn mathematics and make use of the Mezzo Maths programme, in order to soften the study of mathematics. When mathematics becomes easy to study, they can be able to climb quickly on the academic ladder,” he urged.
He added that the introduction of the programme would help the pupils in the future to contribute their quota to national development.
On how teachers can support their pupils to overcome their fears with mathematics, he suggested that pupils should be given the opportunity to express themselves in a manner that would help them to easily understand the subject.
Using his experience as an example, he said: “I have taught maths in the USA. My pupils often tell me they hate maths and they don’t like it. Then I will ask them what time did you wake up in morning, then they respond 6:30 am.
“I will ask them again, when did you did you arrive in school? They will answer 7:30am. And how long did it take you to prepare for school? They will say one hour. Then I tell them, you are doing mathematics.”
Mathematics is not something difficult, it forms the basis of human life, therefore, the teachers must make the lesson interesting, he said.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum further urged parents to allow their wards to accompany them, especially to the market, and should compel them to write down the items and the prices to be purchased, the budget, how much was spent and the balance.
This practice would form part of the practical base of the study of maths.
The government, on the other hand, has the purpose to make Ghana a mathematics-friendly nation, and this is witnessed in the new syllabus introduced in schools, saying, “if issues of fear in mathematics are not addressed, very few of the students would have the privilege to get access to university.”
The Founder of Mezzo Maths Programme Ghana, also added that, so far, there are 20 private schools on the platform, and was hoping to extend it other parts of the country if the government gives them some assistance.
He said the programme is designed to help teach children mathematics and how to be critical with figures and to be fast and very accurate in calculations.
The launch was also marked by inter school competition.