Why Kagera schools performed poorly in Mathematics

In the recently released 2022 Form Four National Examination results, Mathematics led in poor performance.

Statistics released by the National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) reveal a problem that has persisted in our education system for years- failure in Mathematics.

Out of 690 students in ten government-owned secondary schools in Kagera Region who attempted the 2022 Form Four National Examinations only 63 students passed in Mathematics, scoring between  C and D passes.

This was equivalent to 9.13 per cent performance.

Out of the 690 students from the 10 secondary schools, only  five students scored Division One, Division Two (55), Division Three (92), Division Four (416)   while 113 others recorded O.

Mathematics pass rate is still below 50 per cent. It was the worst-performed subject. There are many reasons which make students fail Mathematics, but the main reasons, especially in public schools, is shortage of teachers, according to experts.

Professor Faustin Kamuzora, a lecturer at the Sokoine University (SUA) explained that a country that invests in an industrial economy needs skilled technicians and scientists to accelerate transformation.

He said the government and its academic stakeholders as well have long been investing a lot in the education sector while continuing to urge students to choose science subjects including, Mathematics with the aim of creating professional scholars in solving national challenges.

Dr Egidius Kamanyi, a Sociology lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) on the other hand, explained that another reason behind the failure in the subject is the wrong notion towards Mathematics.

“Unfortunately, most students have engrained it in their brains, that Mathematics is a difficult subject. So, no matter how much a teacher tries to teach in class, such mentality makes it hard for students to grasp what is being taught,” he said.

He explained that another contributory factor is the lack of basic Mathematics understanding right from primary education.

He appealed to parents to stop being over reliant on teachers to do everything and should spare time. They need to chip in too in an effort to help their children excel in academics.

“Students cannot pass Mathematics on their own. They need to be guided. At school it is a bit easier due to the presence of teachers, but at home, parents need to take up this role. Some parents don’t have the culture of monitoring their children’s progress at school, the students are given homework, but some don’t even do the homework, and the parents don’t even check to see how the student is coping with studies,” he said.

Mr Theodor Kaijanante, a former Mathematics lecturer at the College of Business Education (CBE) explained that lack of permanent Mathematics teachers is also another problem that has persisted for years.

Elaborating, he said there are known situations where teachers from one school go to another when they get extra time, just to teach Mathematics. This is a multi-sectoral problem which needs joint effort to get a lasting solution, he said.

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