Facey rewards students with maths scholarships

Career& Education writer

Sunday, July 29, 2018

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Despite struggling maths averages in the Grade Six Achievement Test over the last seven years, Facey Commodity through its TANG brand has continued to invest in the subject by awarding scholarships to students who aced the paper.

This year, it awarded Vittania Bedward from Mico Practicing Primary & Junior High, Khadedra John from Southborough Primary, and Tai Grant of Black River Primary. All three got a perfect score of 100 per cent in maths.

“The thought process behind the scholarship came from the phobia we know many people have of maths and we want to encourage those who do great in the area as well as motivate those who are not doing well, to do better,” said Shellian Thompson, TANG brand manager.

“Mathematics sets the framework for critical thinking and problem solving [and] TANG wants to help the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to remove the stigma and fear often associated with maths by providing incentives to our students to shine in the subject, she continued.

Further, she said that the belief that the subject area is not as important if you do not want to pursue a career in the field is a myth.

“Wherever you are and in whatever capacity you serve, critical thinking is a core value that one needs to have in order to be more analytical, and mathematics provides that,” Thompson told the Jamaica Observer.

Vice-principal of Southborough Primary Lyndon Edwards agreed, and gave an example of the subject's place in everyday life.

“Children have to spend the lunch money they are given on a day-to-day basis. Maths is a critical subject that tends to be overlooked, but it helps students with the ability to reason and think clearly through different tasks that they have to do,” Edwards argued, adding that teachers should motivate make the subject fun in order to overcome the fear many students exhibit.

The scholarship recipients also did well in the other GSAT papers. Bedward also scored 100 per cent in communication task and science, with 98 per cent in social studies, and 97 per cent in language arts. John got 100 per cent in both communication task and social studies, and 97 per cent in both science and language arts. Grant, the only boy among them, scored 100 per cent in both mathematics and language arts, in addition to 92 per cent in communication task, 98 per cent in social studies, and 97 per cent in science.

Bedward and John will be attending Immaculate Conception High School in September while Tai will be heading to Munro College.

The TANG scholarship is a one-time award of $50,000 each to help with back-to-school expenses The awards were made at the Four Seasons Hotel last Thursday.

Parents and teachers also revelled in the proud moment.

“I wouldn't say I am surprised; I just wanted her to do her best. Vittania is determined, and to see her succeed is amazing,” said Alton Bedward of his daughter.

“Confidence and self-esteem are important. I just encourage her to remain focused on the ultimate goal and remembering proper time management,” he added.

Bedward also shared that before Vittania went into her first examination, the quote she repeated to herself was “Up, ye mighty race”, referencing a speech made by national hero Marcus Garvey.

The national GSAT mathematics score for 2018 was 61.2 per cent. Last year, it 62. 4; in 2016 it was 58; for 2015, it was 56; for 2014 it was 60; in 2013, it was 61; and in 2012 it was 63.

“We are well aware that if Jamaica is to achieve our full potential, we must invest in mathematics like India, Singapore, China, South Korea, Japan and many others known for their stellar record in this area,” said Thompson.

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