Programme to improve maths, science gains ground
By Issa Yussuf, Zanzibar
Majority of ordinary secondary school teachers in the isles are not qualified for teaching science and mathematics, Deputy Minister of Education and Vocational Training Khamis Jabir Makame has said.
Closing the induction phase of the Advanced Secondary Teaching Certificate (ASTC) course for improving teacher’s instructional skills in teaching mathematics and science subjects in secondary schools Makame said,training was vital in education development.
”The situation of under-qualified teachers in mathematics and science leads to lower quality of science and mathematics offered in our schools,” Makame said.
While students were capable of performing better in the subjects, they are often discouraged by the learning environment, he said.
”This ultimately causes many students to dislike maths and science and subsequently perform badly in the examinations.
Makame said his ministry was seeking new ways of addressing the challenges by designing educational programmes such as Teachers Advancement Project (TAP).
”Over a long time there has been a disparity between the number of schools, students and teachers in ordinary secondary schools, and therefore,TAP is intended to improve the quality of science and mathematics teaching and learning and education in general,” he said.
TAP has been implemented through Teachers Centres (TC) in various schools, where different activities to support teachers academically and professionally including in-service training, library services and monitoring their achievements are done.
According to Saada Rashid who is one of the TC co-ordinators, the programme has been going on well.
”Many teachers are eager to get the training supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),” he said.
ASTC is a two years project being implemented by the TAP under the joint initiatives of The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and the Zanzibar Education Ministry under the education project- Mradi wa Kuendeleza Elimu Zanzibar (MKEZA).
”Within the last two years,we have managed to produce 41 maths and science teachers’ guides. The course has now been extended, and about 235 science and mathematics teachers have enrolled and are now in the orientation phase,” Acting TAP manager Fatma Khamis said.
Fizza Moloo who represented both Aga Khan and MKEZA at the ceremony, said in her remarks that the TCs has proved to be catalysts for teachers professional development.
All the main speakers at the ceremony made statements of appreciation to the USAID support, saying the US agency has been a major contributor in education development in Zanzibar.
”I am not the spokesperson for the USAID, the spokesperson are out of the country on assignments. However, my presence here means that the USAID supports the development of science in schools,” said Oura Kikuli of USAID.