Sunday, 30 October 2016

STEM AT GRADE ZERO

THE Government has instructed primary schools to start teaching Science and Mathematics in local languages at Early Childhood Development Level with effect from January next year as part of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools.
 
This is also part of implementing the new education curriculum which will be rolled out in all schools next year following the successful piloting project in more than 100 schools this year. In an interview on Friday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said the new learning areas would be taught through play where teachers will give children tasks that speak to Science and Mathematics concepts.

“New learning areas that have been incorporated are Mathematics and Science at ECD. Not to say that children will be taught one plus one at this level but such concepts will be inculcated in children through play. Whatever activity that children will take part in during class has to speak to Mathematics and Science, to allow children to grasp concepts at young ages.

“The teacher can ask pupils to make tea for three people. The fact that a pupil is able to put three cups in a tray shows that they would have grasped the concept of quantifying. In science pupils can bring seed which they plant and observe as they germinate over time,” she said.

Dr Utete-Masango said ECD classes will also be conducted in local languages unlike the obsession where most of these centres are teaching children in English.

“The medium of instruction at infant level is the mother tongue. This is so to allow children to quickly and easily grasp concepts. Our constitution recognises 16 languages including sign language. Those 16 languages are the medium of instruction at that level. Remember the new curriculum also emphasises on family religion and heritage. The use of the mother tongue is in line with that emphasis,” she said.

Other learning areas at ECD level will include Languages, Visual and Performing Arts, Physical Education, Family and Heritage Studies, Information and Communication Technology. Dr Utete-Masango said her ministry was now ready to implement the new curriculum. Piloting of the new curriculum involved early childhood learning, Grades One and Three, and Forms One, Three and Five pupils. sunday news

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