Prof. Stephen Onah, the Chief Executive Officer, National Mathematical Centre (NMC), has blamed dismal performance of students in WAEC and NECO examinations in successive years on unqualified teachers in Mathematics.
Onah said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that school proprietors draft non-professional teachers into teaching senior secondary students Mathematics for such important examinations.
According to him, another factor responsible for poor performance of Nigerian students in Mathematics is the high standards maintained by WAEC and NECO with unqualified mathematics teachers teaching the subject.
“The other factor is that because there are no enough hands to train students in this discipline persons from different areas of study even outside science-based areas are brought to teach the subject.
“ Because the WAEC and NECO which are of international standard will not lower their standard because Nigeria has not enough hands or qualified teachers to train its students.
“They will always maintain their standard and so if we are not living up to that standard, that explains our poor performances,’’ he said.
The professor held the view that when the number of teachers are not equal to that of the students’ population effective teaching becomes a problem.
He called for an increase in the incentives given to mathematics teachers, saying lack of motivation for teachers in critical subjects such as Mathematics is very common in nation’s system of education.
Onah lauded the efforts of the current government at improving the quality and methodology of teaching at the different strata of education in the country, especially primary and secondary schools.
The professor noted that there has been an improvement in both quality and quantity of teachers in Mathematics in the past two years, but said a lot more can be done to shore up students’ performances in WAEC and NECO.
“This is because there is some recognition; the teachers are beginning to see that they are being recognised for their work and they are putting in their very best.
“Again the centre in its own way has been putting up programmes to facilitate the teaching of mathematics”, he said.
He said the centre had developed mathematics modules on how best the subject should be taught and learned and this would be used throughout primary and secondary schools in the country.
“We have also produced a good number of textbooks in their simplified form which, if used or recommended at both the primary and secondary levels the learning of the subject would be better than what it is now”, the professor said.