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Mico introduces new master's degree in maths

Friday, January 19, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Mico University College has introduced a new master's degree in mathematics, which is geared towards preparing leaders in the field.

Applications are being accepted for the programme, which starts in September. It will add to existing master's and undergraduate degrees in mathematics education.

Mico Principal, Dr Asburn Pinnock, made the disclosure to JIS News after a press briefing at the institution's Marescaux Road campus in Kingston on Wednesday (January 17), to launch the pilot for the Mathematics Enhancement Project (MEP).

He said the objective is to improve student performance in the subject area. He noted that the institution is already partnering with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to provide scholarships to student-teachers.

“Over 200 students have scholarships to study mathematics education here at Mico and it has been successful thus far, with most acquiring a grade point average (GPA) of over 3.0,” he said.

“As we train these maths teachers, we are filling the needs of the system. These teachers, in turn, will teach an average of 25 students per class, creating what I describe as the great multiplier effect,” he added.

Dr Pinnock said the new master's programme comes at a time when the Education Ministry is looking to increase the number of specialists in the field.

He noted that at the secondary level, there are about 1,800 teachers who are delivering mathematics, but only 300 have specialist training at the degree level. “This emphasises the need for our continued intervention,” he contended.

Meanwhile, Dr Pinnock said the MEP, developed in association with the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CiMT) at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom (UK), is in keeping with international best practices from high-achieving mathematics countries such as Hungary, Finland, Singapore, Russia and Japan.

The programme places greater emphasis on whole-class interactive teaching while building students' analytical and critical thinking capacities; encourages correct, precise, orderly spoken and written mathematics; promotes mental mathematics; and encourages a spiral curriculum with continual revision.

The three-year MEP project (September 2017 to August 2020), MEP will be piloted in five primary schools – Allman Town, Clan Clarthy, and John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School in Kingston and St Andrew; Devon, Manchester; and Mineral Heights, Clarendon.

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