Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Malcolm X
There is a currently an advertisement on local television
which is endorsed by the Ministry of Education which uses popular comedians Icy
and Fancy Fat to highlight the importance of mathematics education in the
general society. However, while this is commendable given the general fear of
mathematics that a significant number of Jamaican students have this has done
very little to curb the high attribution rate of teachers of Mathematics across
Given the low remuneration of teachers, and the general poor
working conditions those teachers who specialize in Mathematics education are
in high demand and are being enticed to leave the noble profession.
Additionally, the high levels of indiscipline among students in which teachers
have been verbally and physically abused is also another factor which is
contributing to the exodus of teachers of Mathematics especially to more
lucrative paying jobs both locally and overseas. One cannot lay blame on those
teachers who leave the profession for better opportunities since maths counts
and at the end of the day we all are desirous of living a comfortable life.
to Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, some 70 mathematics and science
teachers have exited Jamaican classrooms since January, with the number
expected to increase. The numbers speaks to the gravity of the problem we face
regarding our inability to retain teachers of Mathematics and Science. In most instances those teachers who have
left the classroom/profession are among the most experienced and brightest. As
a society we tend to be reactive instead of proactive. We should have put
measures in place a long time ago to address this long standing problem. This
is certainly not a new issue, and by not giving it the full attention it
deserves the problem has only gotten worse.
According to Dr. Chance Lewis of the University of North
Carolina- Charlotte, between 60 t0 70 percentages of black male teachers leave
the profession after three years. He added that those males who remain after
three years are usually promoted to vice principals and or principals. The exodus of teachers of Mathematics from
our schools should be a cause of grave concern for the Ministry of Education,
as well as other stakeholders especially since the Education Ministry is
pushing ahead with its Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
programme across the island. STEM cannot be realized without a cohort of
experienced and dedicated teachers of Mathematics.
The plight of Jamaicans fear of Mathematics is highlighted in
the data from the education ministry which shows that performance
in the 2015 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) in mathematics declined some 3.7
per cent. Additionally, the decline in students' performances in
mathematics-related subjects in the 2015 CAPE results was even worse, as there
was a 5.4 percentage point decrease in the average pass rate for combined units
of pure mathematics and a 10.1 percentage point decline in applied mathematics.
This is unacceptable if we hope to have a first world status any time soon.
A number of
principals have expressed concerned and rightly so regarding the implications this
exodus of Mathematics teachers as well teachers of mathematics related subjects
will have on external examinations and for the future development of the
As a society we are
going to pay dearly if creative measures are not arrived at and implemented in
an attempt to reverse the trend of the exodus of our teachers of Mathematics.
In the words of
Nelson Mandela education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to
change the world.
#education #development #teachers #migration #Jamaica