Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
President of The Mico University College Professor Claude Packer says one of the first studies conducted by the institution's Caribbean Centre of Excellence in Mathematics Teaching (CCEMaT) has shown that Jamaican math teacher-trainees are lagging behind those in several developed countries.
Packer said the research conducted by the centre, in collaboration with the United Kingdom's Plymouth University, has revealed that many of these third-year students were lacking knowledge of the mathematical concepts they were being trained to teach.
"The results were compared to other countries like China, Singapore and Russia, and we found out that the Jamaican students had less content knowledge," Packer said.
He noted that the study also revealed that knowledge about basic concepts, even as they relate to simple numerical theories which these teacher-trainees possessed, were a lot lower than their counterparts in the countries to which they were compared.
Packer said it was for this reason The Mico launched the centre of excellence on its Kingston campus three years ago. He noted that this mathematics centre was a crucial pillar in transforming the 178-year-old teacher-training institution into the premier school for math educators in the region.
Head of The Mico's mathematics department, Novlet Plunkett, noted that the centre was now fully equipped with resources for both teachers already in the classrooms and students.
She said right now the CCEMaT was focusing on conducting more research on the way forward to improving the country's miserable performance in mathematics.
"CCEMaT was established mainly as a centre through which The Mico University College would conduct research geared at informing the way the teaching and learning of mathematics would be delivered in Jamaica," Plunkett noted.
She said the centre was also involved in the delivery of several short courses aimed at improving the knowledge base of practising teachers.