IAJ sponsors MOE’s 2017 Mathematics Initiative

Calls for more use of technology in teaching subject

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ) Vice-President - Life Vernon James last Monday presented a sponsorship cheque in the amount $750,000 to the Ministry of Education for the latter’s 2017 Mathematics Initiative, while urging the use of smartphones and social media to aid the learning of the subject.

James, who spoke at the awards ceremony for Mathematics Teacher of the Year, which forms a part of activities for Mathematics Week, underscored the importance of mathematics to the insurance industry, especially for assessing and managing risk.

"We also support maths education as it helps to promote the development of critical thinking, analytic and problem-solving skills so essential in both personal and national development," he said.

While the insurance industry has been involved in the promotion of mathematics over the last 30 years, mainly through sponsorships and the hosting of mathematics competitions, it began its partnership with the education ministry four years ago to ensure improved passes, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in mathematics at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level.

James noted that "there was steady progress" for the first three years, but also acknowledged that there was a decline in passes last year.

"... but you have gone back to the drawing board to get the programme back on track with some new strategies," he said to the ministry representative at the ceremony.

"We are particularly supportive of the plan to increase the usage of online platforms with mathematics content so that students can have easy access to information to enhance their ability to do maths, even in their spare time," added James, who is also the CEO of the insurance arm of the National Commercial Bank, NCB Insurance.

NCB itself, through its foundation, pays for secondary students to sit CSEC business subjects for free. In 2013, the foundation paid $9.5 million to cover the examinations cost of students for principles of business and/or principles of accounts. On February 1 this year, the company transferred $13 million in bursaries to schools for the May/June 2017 sitting.

"We encourage you to do all in your power so that smartphones and social media become tools of empowerment for maths and other types of education, instead of the negative things [these phenomena have] been associated with recently," James added.

He also extended congratulations to the maths teachers who received awards on Monday, bemoaning that "teaching is many times a thankless job, [but] the reward you will receive today means that your efforts have not gone unnoticed".




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