Career & Education

Mico's maths summit set for March 25-27

Sunday, March 17, 2019

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The Mico University College is partnering with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to host the International Mathematics Teaching Summit from March 25 to 27.

Described as the first of its kind in the Caribbean, the summit will focus on exploring international best practices in the teaching of mathematics; and teaching methodologies and strategies that are essential in preparing students to acquire important competencies such as critical thinking, complex problem-solving, creativity and innovation.

These competencies are deemed a crucial for students to function effectively in the workplace of the future, which will be shaped by rapid changes in emerging and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence.

The event will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston under the theme 'Mathematics for Sustainable Economic Growth and Job Creation'.

Addressing a JIS Think Tank on Monday president of Mico Dr Asburn Pinnock said that the summit will include presenters from Australia, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA).

They will share knowledge, experience and expertise in mathematics with participants from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.

“We are bringing in persons from the Eastern hemisphere because they seem to be (doing) much better than the West. We want to find out what they are doing, what kind of cultural differences and strategies they are using, to help us in this regard,” Dr Pinnock said.

“We also understand that there is a close link between mastering mathematical concepts and skills and the economic development of countries. We have seen where these countries that are doing so well in mathematics are also doing very well in economic development,” he added.

Dr Pinnock said that the presenters are from some of the top countries in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), in which Jamaica is preparing to participate in 2021.

This international triennial survey aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. It assesses how well they can apply what they learn in school to real-life situations.

“We strategically selected our presenters in the conference. We brought them from countries that are in the top 10 and top five in PISA. We want to use the knowledge network to pull these persons together, to work with us, to share best practices, to see how well we can develop mathematical thinking and concepts and to compare favourably with countries in the First World,” he explained.

Dr Pinnock told JIS News that beyond the summit, a key objective is to build a permanent connection with these international experts, through which knowledge can be continuously shared.

“We want this to be a lasting relationship with the ministry, Mico and these presenters, and any other resource that we can find across the world,” he noted.

The inaugural Mico International Mathematics Teaching Summit involves collaboration with the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching, University of Plymouth in the UK.

It will take place during National Mathematics Week — March 24 to 29.

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