The National Mathematical Centre (NMC) says it has trained 120 basic school students and 24 mathematics teachers on mental arithmetic in Adamawa and Yobe.
Dr Jekayinfa Olatunji, the NMC’s Desk Officer on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Abuja.
Olatunji said that the training was aimed at improving the learning of mathematics in schools and also training the students while still young to encourage and capture their interests.
He noted that students were not performing satisfactorily in mathematics examinations in the country, with as high as 70 percent of them scoring F9 in the subject.
Olatunji said the high rate of failure had been of serious concern to the centre, hence the training to enhance students’ performance in mathematics, especially in external examinations.
“In the National Mathematical Centre, one of our mandates is to prepare packages that will improve teaching and learning of mathematics across all levels of education.
“Mental arithmetic is part of the packages because we have discovered that some students have lost interest in the learning of mathematics,” he said.
The desk officer said that the centre, through the support of the Federal Government, had embarked on training of about 120 students and 24 mathematics teachers, selected from the three senatorial districts of Yobe and Adamawa.
He explained that 60 students and 12 mathematics teachers were selected and trained from each of the two states.
“We organised one week training in each state and we called it the nomenclature, mental arithmetic and mathematics improvement training for junior secondary school students and mathematics teachers.
“We have also conducted the same training in 32 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“In each of the states, we had 120 selected students, both from JSS I and JSS II, but this time around, we had to step it down to 60 students to observe the COVID-19 protocol,” he said.
Olatunji stated that the the programme had, as its theme, ‘Catch them Young’, adding that the idea was to get them to develop interest in the learning of the subject at tender age.
“It will be difficult to change someone’s opinion when it is already formed but when you catch them at the junior level, the impact will be greater,’’ he added.
Olatunji, however, appealed to the three tiers of government to encourage the centre through financial support to enable it train more students and mathematics teachers.
“If the centre has better funding, more students and mathematics teachers at all levels of education will benefit,’’ he said.
The desk officer also advised state governments to ensure that more students and teachers benefitted from the programme. (NAN)