JIS: Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Grace McLean, has welcomed support from Sterling Asset Management towards an initiative aimed at improving student achievement in mathematics at the primary level.

 

The securities dealer has donated $500,000 to the Caribbean Centre of Excellence in Mathematics Teaching (CCEMaT) at The Mico University College. It has also committed to providing another $500,000 for 2019.

 

“We are indeed delighted that you have come on board to support The Mico University and, by extension, Jamaica’s education system,” said Dr. McLean.

 

She was speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at Sterling Asset Management’s boardroom in New Kingston on Tuesday (February 6) to formalise the agreement.

 

“The Mico University is one of those institutions that we have great confidence in as it relates to mathematics, to provide the support that is needed in the education system to assist us in lifting the performance of mathematics at the primary as well as the secondary levels,” Dr. McLean said.

 

She noted that progress has been made in recent years; however, there is room for improvement.

 

“We are now at about 67 per cent for the grade four numeracy (test) and it has been trending in the right direction by about three or four percentage points each year. We would like to move this to at least 85 per cent by the year 2019/2020, so we have about two years within which to do that,” she pointed out.

 

Formed in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMIT) at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, CCEMaT’s mandate is to conduct research and training/teacher-preparation activities designed to improve the quality of mathematics education in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

 

The centre incorporates innovative strategies observed in mathematically high-achieving countries such as Hungary, Finland, Singapore, Russia and Japan.

 

CCEMaT is piloting a Mathematics Enhancement Project (MEP) in select primary schools from September 2017 to August 2020 to garner insight on how the project can impact the teaching and learning of mathematics at the primary level of the education system.

 

The pilot got underway in five schools and three others have since been added.

 

President of The Mico University College, Dr. Asburn Pinnock, said he is grateful that Sterling Asset Management has come on board.

 

He said this investment, which will reach 80 teachers in the eight pilot schools, will result in a multiplier effect that will positively impact the lives of Jamaica’s youth and boost their performance in mathematics.

 

“Eighty may sound small, but if you look at the multiplier, with each teacher teaching probably close to 50, 40, 35 students, it is critical,” he pointed out.

 

Director, Sterling Asset Management, Charles Ross, said his company is pleased to be a part of the CCEMaT programme.

 

“It’s a very worthwhile endeavour aimed at improving mathematics education in our primary schools. Education has always been a major focus of Sterling’s corporate social responsibility activities. I appreciate the importance of a good foundation and primary education is the foundation of our education system. It’s really important for us to strengthen that area,” he noted.

 

Mr. Ross, who has a background in engineering and finance, said “mathematics is close to my heart and I know the importance of good grounding in the field for success in so many ventures and so many endeavours in life”.

 

“The project has the potential to have a very wide impact because it’s focused on teaching the teachers and empowering them, especially those at the foundation level in primary schools,” he added.

 

The eight schools benefiting from the MEP are Allman Town, Clan Clarthy, Elletson, Windward Road and John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High in Kingston and St. Andrew; Devon Primary in Manchester; Mineral Heights Primary, Clarendon; and Mount Olivet in Manchester.