By Reuben Olita

A five-day International workshop to unravel the poor performance in mathematics by students began at the Farmview Hotel in Busia town on Monday 13th June, 2022.

A baseline survey conducted by researchers from Kibabii University indicated that amongst the causes of poor academic performance in Mathematics are the negative attitudes of the learners towards the subject, inappropriate teaching methods and low motivation of teachers.

The workshop targets tutors from Diploma Teacher Colleges who will then provide mentorship and support to teachers in 36 secondary schools drawn from Busia, Bungoma and Kakamega counties under a pilot project dubbed strengthening in-service teacher training (SITT)

Addressing the press After opening the workshop, Kibabii University Vice Chancellor, Prof Isaac Odeo Ipara said attitude towards the subject by teachers and students is the main cause of this worrying trend, noting that teachers need to devise new methods of teaching the subject.

” Most teachers have tendencies of avoiding difficult topics to the detriment of students when such topics are set in national exams,” Prof Ipara said, adding that there is need for capacity building for teachers and use of local materials.

Three universities including Kibabii, Dar Salaam University College of Education, University of Zambia, and a Swiss Non Governmental Organization, HELVATAS are undertaking the training that is funded by International Development Research Center (IDRC) and Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

“Let’s give maths what it deserves. In Tanzania, maths is taught in primary schools in kiswahili but in Kenya the approach we have makes learners outcome deteriorate even more,” Prof Ipara said.

He added: ” In KCSE students score a mean grade of 10 in agriculture, 8 in History and 3 or 2 in maths.Why condemn our children to obscurity? he wondered. Interventions can be done and this program is an intervention and Kibabii University has teamed up with National University of Zambia and University of Dar es Salaam to save the future of our children.”

The professor said there is need by all stakeholders to take the program seriously, noting that it’s research driven and with room for improvement and future innovations.

Prof Ipara is a member of the project team. Others are Kibabii Deputy Vice Chancellor for Planning Partnership and Innovation (PPRI), Prof. Benedict Mutua, Prof Julius Maiyo, Dr. Munir, Dr. Echaune, Dr. Nabwire and Dr. Kirwa.

Busia College Principal Makokha Khalonyere advised teachers to embrace teaching of mathematics, noting that it’s core subject for all other disciplines.

County Deputy Director Teachers Service Commission, Dr Obiayo threw the challenge of students’ failure to maths teachers whom he said lack passion.

County assurance officer, Night Momanyi said resistance to change was the main undoing against teaching fraternity that has seen most of them take ICT for pleasure, underscoring the need for them to come up with strategies to monitor implemention stage.

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