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Revealed : Why many students in Ghana fail in maths and how to solve this issue.

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 No Final year student in Ghana has ecaped the grip of taking a final leaving examination .Every final year student in Ghana is obliged to take a final leaving exams depending on the level of education on board . Junior high students are to take the BECE. Senior high students , on the other hand , are to take their final leaving examinations which is the WASSCE. Several concerns have been raised on the performances of students in mathematics - regardless of the level of education .

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Each year, over 900,000 Ghanaian students fail in mathematics in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) as well as in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE ). Why such terrible performances? The reason for such repetitive poor performances in mathematics should not be only attributed to the students alone, infact , many teachers have adopted the wrong techniques to teach mathematics all these years: that is , teaching mathematics with English language - a very disturbing language barrier! 


Let's face the fact. Mathematics is not a difficult subject. Neither is it an easy subject . So with oxymoron , mathematics can be described as an easy-hard subject! In other words , mathematics is like a puzzle . If you do not grab its foundamentals, you will only be wasting your time complaining bitterly about how difficult , exasperating , tiring and neck- breaking some maths questions are. In fact , you may out of fraustruation rain or hurl insults in your mind each time you see your maths teacher in class.


Others will even go as far as skipping class because of maths sections .your brain will automatically be programmed as ," maths is difficult!", " I hate this subject" , "This is the worst subject ever!" "In fact who created maths - with a facial pattern transmitting a signal of disinterest, discomfort , and disgust", and many other ill comments concerning mathematics if you do not get a solid root in mathematics.


Your passion for mathematics will be easily quenched when you do not understand every single basis of mathematics starting from primary one. Why do I say teaching mathematics with English Language is a poor technique? We are all Ghanaians and our primary language is not" English"- as a matter of fact , our rate of understanding is extremely high when we communicate in our local language , especially the widely spoken "Twi". 


 Being in an institution shouldn't forbid you as a teacher to speak Twi with your students.There are certain teachers , who teach mathematics with grammar you will have to look up in the dictionary every second. Mathematics already has several complicated topics and speaking such professional grammar with students only increases the complexity of the topics in their minds .

 Others may argue vehemently that mathematics should be taught in English language to improve the grammar skills of students but this is very wrong. It is indeed true that practice makes perfection . But let me ask , " How can you perfect a skill if you do not really understand that particular skill ?" Teaching mathematics with English language will not affect the English language skill of students in any way . In fact , it really does more harm than good. 


We already have English language as a topic on its own . Students are taught grammatical names and functions, literary terms , useful and correct vocabulary as well as other English language relating terms. The point is , if students want to learn English , good , the Ghana Education Service has already solved this issue by making English language a subject on its own ! So why stress students with grammar in mathematics. 

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It is not wrong teaching Ghanaian students mathematics with English language but there is a clear cut difference when critical analysis and methodical evaluations are made on the performances of students, who are taught mathematics with English language and those who are taught with the local language.  Communicating with Ghanaian students in their own native language will enhance their rate of understanding . Let me site a true paradigm with a public school in Kasoa with name, " Odukponkpei school". majority of Students attending this community school are from extremely rural areas , where English is hardly heard. Whenever you communicate with such students , the grammar they use in their responses is extremely abysmal and can throw you into a state of irreversible shock.


In fact , analysis from WAEC ( West African Examination Counsel ) even shows that majority of students also do a terrible job in passing English language. English language is one of the core subjects students fail badly in . It doesn't take much imagination to wonder what happens if students are taught mathematics with a language they are so bad at.

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The late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela once said," If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart". Teaching a Ghanaian student mathematics with English sometimes defeats the aim of helping the students pass at the end of the day . On the other hand , when Ghanaian students are taught mathematics in their own language , excellent performances will be seen and recorded! 

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English Language is not our primary language and there is no law forbidding teachers to explain mathematics to Ghanaian students in "TWI". Certain countries like India and other countries, whose primary language is not English , teach mathematics in their own language! The reason for a poor performance in mathematics should not always be a blame on students. Teachers can make a change!  


In an exclusive interview held by the well known Tweneboah Koduah on one of Ghana's cherished television station platform or media , UTV , in a morning program dubbed " Adehye nsoroma" , One of Ghana's best software engineers, Master scoon Boakye Appiah ,spoke on how he had studied the issue of failure in mathematics and measures he had taken to solve such humongous issue . One may wonder , what has a software engineer got to do with solving mathematical issues. Well , let me break the suspense . In the interview , he made it known that he worked in collaboration with Ghana's best winning science and maths quiz students to create an app called AyaPrep – Ghana's Award Winning WASSCE and BECE Prep Software. Watch video of his app winning an award using this link.https://m.facebook.com/ghanainnovationhub/videos/490239938485867/

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He continued by saying , "AYAPrep is an upcoming software that will teach mathematics in "Twi", "Ga ", and" Ewe". This app will teach users the basis of mathematics in a language they can understand( Ghanaian languages). English Language will no longer be a barrier . AYAPrep explains maths with understandable videos and practice test ( past questions with detailed explanations) and ensures that users understand everything before they proceed. "


Verified statistics has shown that each year, over 50,000 SHS graduates miss varsity due to failure in Mathematics.The number can be drastically reduced when the appropriate way of teaching is used . 

In conclusion, if an engineer , who has no business and relation with classrooms , has been able to provide a solution , then what should teachers , who have strong relations to the classrooms aslo do? I politely urge all teachers to also start teaching their students with the local Ghanaian languages if students are always answering their questions , " Do you all understand? " With a big loud no! . This will help eschew the failure in mathematics to the barest minimum.


Thanks for reading.

Source: opera.com
The views expressed in this article are the writer's, they do not reflect the views of Opera News. Read more>>
Top Comments
reinhab · 06/25/2020
I concur with you on this piece. The maths dilemma is simply not dealt with head-on and yet those in-charge refuse to let people progress in the educational ladder by means of crude grading system .Its hurtingly devastating

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