Education stakeholders have lauded initiatives by private sector players to encourage students to excel in mathematics and sciences in secondary schools in the country.
Speaking during the national secondary schools maths contest sponsored by milk processor Brookside Dairy at Machakos Girls High School on Saturday May 18, the stakeholders, who included teachers, said there was need to debunk the myth among students that maths was a difficult subject.
This, they said, could be achieved through having students participate in programmes that motivate them to excel in the subject.
Machakos Girls principal, Mrs Lucy Mugendi said maths helped students to develop problem solving skills, besides acting as a booster subject for overall good performance at the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.
“Ever since we began participating in maths contests with other schools, our mean standard score in the subject has been rising steadily over the years, with none of our students scoring an E grade in the national examination,” Mrs Mugendi said.
She challenged students to undertake regular practice in maths as a means of improving their mastery of numeracy skills.
“Mathematics informs our daily routine, as we are always involved in some form of numeracy activities every day. Our intention is to work with partners such as Brookside Dairy to uplift our mean score in the subject in national examinations,” she said.
She added that her school had continued to register excellent performance in mathematics due to strategies it had put in place to grow interest of students in the subject.
“At Machakos Girls, we believe maths defines our daily lives. Each one of us requires a certain amount of numeracy to go about their everyday life, and this is what we have told our students. Maths punctuates our lives,” Mrs Mugendi said.
She thanked Brookside Dairy for sponsoring the national maths contests, popularly known as Brookside Mathlete.
The processor’s marketing manager Peter Wasonga said the competitions were a strategy to improve learning outcomes in secondary schools across the country.
“We want to debunk the myth that maths is difficult,” he stressed. “We are working with the Ministry of Education to come up with student-friendly approaches that help demystify the subject.”
Wasonga said Brookside had so far awarded 54 scholarships this year to students who had excelled in the contests, as a way of motivating them to continue working hard in the subject.
“We have set aside funds for 108 scholarships across the country as an incentive for the best performers. We ask all secondary schools in the county to take part in the competitive contests,” he said.
Wasonga said Brookside would also award the top boy and girl with a university scholarship to enable them pursue maths related degree courses at Strathmore University in Nairobi.