A minimum grade of C+ in mathematics is now required for students who want to enroll in courses related to mathematics at the university.
The new approach won’t affect the C+ (plus) entry grade for universities, but it will have an impact on the fields of study that are necessary to follow one’s chosen course, like computer science, ICT, economics, statistics, and finance.
Recently, mathematics has remained key to determining where students are placed in these courses.
In the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams, more than 50% of the candidates scored D and E grades in mathematics.
Students choosing degree and diploma programs are having difficulty aligning their passions with the realities of their performance.
For example, a student with a B+ overall but a D+ in mathematics cannot be admitted to any health sciences or teaching programs. He will be pushed to take courses with dubious professional prospects and utility.
Professional and regulatory bodies such as the Council for Legal Education, the Nursing Council, the Clinical Officers Council, the TSC, and the Medical Practitioners and Dentists’ Council have placed rigorous rules on anyone wishing to enter the field.
A student who scores Grade A plain, but fails to score a B and above in one of the core subjects (Mathematics, English or Kiswahili, Chemistry and Biology) is not eligible for registration as a medical doctor in Kenya or East Africa. If he pursues a medical degree in another part of the world, this will haunt him when he seeks a licence to practice his craft in Kenya.
Mathematics is the only subject that lies at the centre of any career choice, but a quick check in Kenya will reveal that more students fail in mathematics than any other subject. The question that is often asked is why, for instance, a doctor needs mathematics, yet the profession is not anchored in numbers.
- One, it is one of the only subjects that improves students’ capacity for logical reasoning and problem-solving. In contrast to other subjects, mathematics exams are often not copied exactly from books. In order to address the problem using learned techniques and the reasoning domain, a learner would need to learn how to do so.In contrast, a student will not give precise responses as read in a book when discussing history or even biology. Math education should be encouraged if we want our students to be logical thinkers.
- Second, mathematics forces us to change how we think and how we approach situations. Flexibility and creativity are fostered through this. In certain areas, students produce “answers,” and in others, they solve “problems.” Life itself consists of a number of issues and challenges that must be overcome.
- Thirdly, mathematics improves mental health. The brain domains involved in mathematical problem-solving are linked with the reward pathways. Hence when a student solves a problem, there’s an inner feeling of reward and achievement. This explains why most marks are earned through the problem-solving process rather than the answer itself.
- Mathematics teaches a developing brain that the process is more important than the destination. We live in an era of instant solutions, a fact that enhances brain atrophy.
- Learning mathematics is also about bringing up a generation that can analyse, critique, reason and hypothesize.