It is clear that there is no coherent strategy for the provision and promotion of mathematics and science education in the country.
The strategic plan of the Ministry does not outline a coherent plan for science and mathematics education although it places emphasis on these subjects. The SEU in its present form is also not strong enough to provide such support. Questions about conditions that can attract more qualified people into science and mathematics are not addressed as part of efforts to promote science and mathematics learning.
These leaders seem to lack an understanding of the fields of STME and or science and mathematics education.
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If head teachers develop greater awareness of these subjects, they will be more likely to cultivate supportive learning experiences in their schools. To lead development of curriculum and assessment and support the implementation of changes from this work, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment NCCA was established to make decisions on the curriculum and assessment system to be used in the schools.
More recently, the National Inspectorate Board was established to improve effective monitoring of teaching and learning in schools. The impact of this has yet to be seen. Another government agency, the National Teaching Council NTC is to provide policy directions for the professionalization of teachers including science and mathematics teachers. These new bodies are in the process of being rolled out fully. If performance in science and mathematics is falling in senior high school, it is because performance at the basic level is very low as evidenced in the TIMSS reports.
The focus should then be on improving science and mathematics learning at the basic level and support for science and mathematics subject associations. There is the need for more collaboration between MOE and other ministries which have stakes in science and mathematics education at the basic level. Stakeholders outside the GES are needed to provide independent, objective evidence-based guidance and advice to promote effective science and mathematics education.
These groups provide an important source for understanding the challenges facing science and mathematics education and initiatives that need to be put in place to address them. The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences is another powerful organization that has expertise from different fields of science and can therefore be supportive of efforts to improve science and mathematics learning in the basic schools.
Involving these organizations through sharing of data, information and strategies will increase the leadership and overall coordination of science and mathematics education. The MOE and GES, as a result of the limited resources at their disposal, have over the years reached out to the private sector to play a more active and supportive role in education in the country through the provision of financial and in-kind commitments, which are needed by the GES.
However, the involvement of the private sector should be seen only as an initial step towards forging a stronger and longer-term commitment to improving science and mathematics education. It has also been observed that the official curricula for the lower primary languages i. This is a great hindrance to their learning and understanding of science and mathematics.
The Ministry of Education has in place a policy regarding the use of local language as the medium of instruction at the lower primary of basic education. Recommendations 1. In an effort to improve mathematics and science education in the country, some districts and municipalities have allowed subjects specialist to operate in the schools. For example in the Cape Coast municipality this is happening. We think that it is a good development which should be supported to ensure that we have excellent science and mathematics teachers who will teach in our primary schools.
This policy should be enforced. Besides, the early grades language s curricula i. L1 and L2 should be revised to incorporate as much phonic work as possible to enable Ghanaian children to be able read for comprehension by the age that most children are expected to read for comprehension. An inter- institutional committee of representatives from the two ministries co-chaired by chief Directors from the two Ministries will ensure close alignment of activities that cut across board.
The committee will help develop measures for evaluating programmes and activities across agencies. All new and existing leadership development programmes for school leaders should incorporate STME-focused learning.
MOE, working with the universities, should focus research and development to identify the knowledge needed by school leaders to effectively promote science and mathematics education. L1 and L2 curriculum: The early grades the literacy i. L1 and L2 curriculum should be revised to incorporate as much phonic work as possible to enable most Ghanaian children to be able read by Primary 2 and to assure its alignment with the numeracy and environmental science curricula. Curriculum Curriculum can be described from the perspective of what is planned, provided or actually learned Mullis et.
This is not good particularly in the early grades when children need to learn mathematics and science in context. In mathematics for instance, number bases and speed are no more taught because they are missing in the syllabus. The natural science and integrated science syllabuses were found to be too theoretical and overloaded with too many topics, objectives and activities. The net effect is that from Primary one through to Junior High School Three, the science syllabus for any single year is hardly completed.
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Yet pupils are expected to progressively build on the foundations of the science and mathematics taught and acquired at each class level. At that pace, true understanding never occurs. The study also revealed that even though the time spent on these subjects is higher in Ghana than it is in many other countries, many teachers are unable to complete the science and math syllabi. Related to this is the emphasis given to the content areas and the cognitive domains.
In the case of Ghana, the science curriculum places a lot of emphasis on knowing basic science facts and principles, and less emphasis on investigative nature of science, observation and description of natural phenomena, designing and planning of experiments and conducting investigations. In mathematics the curriculum places a great deal of emphasis on mastering basic skills and procedures and understanding mathematical concepts and principles but gives little emphasis on communicating mathematically, reasoning mathematically, and deriving formal proofs.
As in science these latter learning activities enable pupils to develop higher order cognitive skills. An initial attempt by CRDD to engage experts to develop minimum standards for literacy and numeracy, which will describe the abilities that are most important for all pupils to cultivate, is commendable. No attempt has been made to develop standards for science. Without such standards, teachers will not be able to help individual students to attain higher levels of academic achievement in numeracy and science, regardless of the instructional methods.
There is therefore the need to develop standards for all grade levels of the basic education level and trial-test them to ensure their reliability.
It is to be noted that standards are only one part of the equation. For effective implementation of standards, schools will require leadership, well-prepared teachers, and quality instructional materials aligned to the standards. In addition, a high quality and meaningful assessment will be required.
The subject is taught today in disintegrated manner as physics, chemistry, and biology by teachers who themselves have experienced learning the subject in a disintegrated manner in their general education as well as training at the college of education or in the universities. Integrated science teachers tend to teach only the chemistry, biology of physics component or a combination of two of them.
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But integrated science teaching is not only about the basic sciences; it covers basic principles in health, agriculture and industries among others, for which teachers should be adequately prepared. There is the need for a more realistic science syllabus, to enable our basic school science teachers to operate effectively in their specialties.
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The stanine stands for standard nine and indicates nine statistical units from scale 1 to 9 with a mean of 5 and a standard deviation of 2, which is used for the placement of pupils overall ranking in a standardized test. The stanine system is not helpful when comparing the performance of cohorts of pupils in different years or when determining the actual performance of a pupil.
Recommendations 2. The curriculum should make use of high quality research on how children learn science and mathematics, and should recognize that effort, not just inherent talent counts in mathematical and scientific achievement. The period allocated for science should be increased to Within the districts, the review can be done in clusters of schools. Professional development of the teachers should be organized to align them to the standards. In addition, assessment should be aligned to the standards. The standards and assessment should reflect the mix of factual knowledge, procedural skills and conceptual understanding.
These activities should be accomplished by the end of With the development of standards for science and mathematics learning should be clear enough to , enable teachers, students and the MOE to determine the attainment of the standards through assessment. A criterion-referenced test is what is needed to accomplish this. A group of science educators and scientists should be assembled to carry out this assignment.