By Maniraguha Ferdinand
Experts and governments officials have highlighted the need for Africa to prioritize mathematics from the subjects that are taught in schools if they are to make a brighter future.
The move was stressed during the three day of 5th Regional Forum for the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) which kicked off in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, this Monday 20th May 2019.
Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Dr Edouard Ngirente said Africa should improve the way numeric is taught in schools while investing more in infrastructure that helps such subject to expand.
By 2050, Africa’s young population under 24 years old will make 50 % of the continent’s population that is expected to surpass 2 billion.
Ngirente expressed that a continent which intends to rely on the youth in the future must promote numeric as to equip young people with relevant skills.
“In Africa we still face the issue of numeracy. As Africans, our ambition should be to consider mathematics as an important tool that will help our students to develop their analytical thinking. In doing so, we should ensure that pupils who complete their primary schools are well equipped with relevant basic numeracy skills”.
Looking on the urgency Africa has given fighting illiteracy recently, Dr Ngirente is optimistic that prioritizing mathematics is possible as well.
“It is high time that all African countries as they have done in promoting literacy, also set up strategies that will guarantee teaching of mathematics at all levels of education”, he said
He also stressed that languages should not be put aside as they are the medium through which mathematics and other sciences are taught.
Fight Illiteracy Youth Organization (FIYO) is a non governmental organization whose goal is to promote education.
Moses Gahigi, Rwanda country director supports the move to revise the way mathematics is taught in Africa.
He said mathematics comprise everyday life for everyone who master it.
“You will find it in research, normal life like counting, national planning and budgeting, banks, to mention a few. Its therefore crucial for African countries to adopt and emphasize the teaching of Mathematics in schools”.
Gahigi finds that sensitization campaigns, trainings for mathematics’ teachers should be organized at all levels of education.
Rwanda Education Board Director General Dr Irenée Ndayambaje told this paper that they have done a lot in promoting mathematics in every corner of country’s education.
However, he said they are still challenges where many people see mathematics as difficult lesson hence dropping it to join subjects they think are easy to learn.
In Rwanda, Mathematics is taught from primary schools to secondary schools and it is one of major subjects in national exams.
A 2014 report entitled ‘Mathematics in Africa’ which was published by International Mathematical Union, shows that hindrances of Mathematics expansion on the continent include low numbers of secondary school teachers and mathematicians at the master’s and PhD level, few professors to train the next generation of leaders, low salaries, deficient and outdated infrastructure, etc.