By Wisdom Mumera
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira has come under fire over his intentions to scrap mathematics as one of the entry requirements for tertiary education program not related to the subject.
Most tertiary education institutions in the country have mathematics as part of their entry requirements even for programs that does not have calculations or numbers.
Failure to pass mathematics has seen people across the country unable to proceed with their educations, a development which has limited their options in life.
Addressing academics in Bulawayo recently, Minister Murwira said Maths can’t be a requirement for all tertiary level programs.
The move to scrap mathematics has been viewed by many people as efforts to reverse the STEM initiative which was introduced by the former Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Zimbabweans from various walks of life took to social media platform Twitter to express their views on the proposal with renowned law expert Dr Alex Magaisa describing it as celebration of laziness.
“In this day and age, Ministers should be talking more positively of Maths and encouraging it, not finding gaps for people to avoid it.
“If anything they should be crafting policies that make it more fun to learn and more accessible to kids at school,” he said.
Magaisa said the invention of mathematics is one of the most critical in the history of humankind and that it’s Ministers “…should be encouraging it’s learning rather than dumping down and making excuses. Manje manje munhu wese kuMaths.
“Those of us challenging the minister’s proposition are concerned by the long-term implications of removing its compulsory status on the study of Maths from all levels. If it can be dropped there will be no incentive to study it,” he said.
Others were also equally astonished at the Minister’s proposal whilst some still felt he has a point.
Below are some of the views posted on twitter with regards to the intentions.
What makes our ministers want to make their personal opions policy? He is sending a bad signal to kids. Soon they wll start saying Maths hadzina basa. being teens they will influence each other and 'drop' the subject.
— Liberty Nyamutsamba (@libertynyamuts1) January 22, 2018
Well said. This Minister wants to take us back to the caves. One of the reasons why the world is problematic as it is today is the hatred of Mathematics a subject that makes people more #Rational. In a tech and science driven world maths is at the heart of everything now!
— #Hayipariyani (@MatricksDeCoder) January 21, 2018
My experience is that the moment we scrap Maths being compulsory,most students 'll run frm it,even the best at it and we will have a country with no engineers,chemists and architects.What becomes of us then?Dependence on the west for these again.Come on Mnstr
— Chris MN (@chrisgp99) January 21, 2018
I have 6Bz and 4 Az at 'O'level & at Az 18 points bt am somehow deemed unworthy to enter some certain fields because f Mathematics
— Tino Chikakano😤 (@confirmed92) January 21, 2018
Mathematics is the science that deals with the logic of shape, quantity and arrangement. I agree with the Minister if you study areas of knowledge you will learn that Mathematics is only one equal area of knowledge to the rest pic.twitter.com/jYuFKIrmL5
— tapiwa nyati (@TapsChambers) January 21, 2018
Even a C,D,E or F, what effect does that have on the ability to study Law, psychology and many other degrees.Failing O level maths does not mean that one does not know how 2 count, or complete basic calculations.That person has passed through Gr7 maths "ZJC maths class"+O L Clas
— TapaTsokodayi (@TapaTsokodayi) January 22, 2018
“Every subject has an intrinsic value. The same argument can be made for the study of the humanities, literature, fine art and music. It refines one’s character and sharpens one’s thinking. Far much better than boring monotonous numbers,” said Tawanda Chimbwe.
Pass rates for the subject have been perennially low over the past years with percentages hovering just below 30%.
This has led to calls for alternative teaching methods to grow student interest in the subject.
Previous Minister Prof Moyo implemented the STEM program which sought to encourage the learning of Maths, Technology and Science subjects while government pays for their school fees.