Sterling Asset Management boosting mathematics
On September 17, Sterling Asset Management (SAM) and The Mico University College signed a memorandum of understanding at the Ministry of Education.
As a part of this memorandum, SAM committed to the provision of 24 scholarships, valued at $400,000 as a part of a Mathematics Enrichment Programme for the primary level. The scholarships will benefit participating teachers from primary schools in Kingston, namely the Mico Practising, Allman Town, Elleston and John Mills primary schools.
"Education has been a core part of Sterling's corporate social responsibility for a long time," said Charles Ross, CEO of SAM. As a leader in financial services, SAM has an ongoing relationship with educational causes, including initiatives in the field of mathematics and the provision of individual scholarships. With this new programme, SAM and The Mico are empowering primary school teachers to address students' learning needs by utilising local and international research and approaches.
"The primary level is key because this is the level at which new concepts have to be grasped for success later in school," said Ross.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites said "our culture has not bequeathed to us a strong history of mathematics excellence." Last year, the Ministry of Education reported that only around 25 per cent of Jamaican students who took mathematics in the Caribbean Secondary School Certificate examinations were passing. Thwaites said the ministry has a "new effort to supplement, not to replace, the capacities of probably 40 per cent of our primary school teachers, who do their best but have no training [or] no sufficient certification in mathematics." This problem is compounded by the migration of mathematics teachers to schools in other countries.
"Math plays a role in so many aspects of our life, it is important for us to have a very numerate society. In finance, good math skills are almost a prerequisite," said Kevin Richards, SAM'S vice-president for sales and marketing. SAM and The Mico will be seeking to grow the programme, with a goal of enlisting additional partners and expanding the programme for national implementation.
The success of this programme could improve how teachers approach the teaching of mathematics, and improve students' view of the subject.