Government is committed to improving the mathematical skills of students.

This assurance came today from Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harcourt Husbands, who acknowledged that the Ministry had to strengthen this subject area.

Senator Husbands made the comments as he addressed a JetBlue/Khan Academy handover ceremony at the Ministry of Education, Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road.

JetBlue presented Khan Academy Ambassador, Alex Eiden, with 30 refurbished laptops, which will be handed over to the St. Ambrose and St. Lukes/Brighton Primary Schools.

These schools were part of the pre-pilot for the Khan Academy Mathematics Initiative, which is designed to improve children???s understanding of Mathematics.??The Parliamentary Secretary said it was widely recognised that the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics were the way of the future.

???This is where the well-paying jobs are and this initiative will assist us tremendously. The Ministry is always open to assistance from whatever source, and we are extremely pleased to be associated with this initiative,??? he told the gathering of principals and teachers.

Disclosing that he was a big supporter of technology, he said it had an advantage over ???talk and chalk???. He also described as ???very good??? what Khan Academy was currently doing to make the learning of Mathematics fun and easy to grasp.

Senator Husbands stressed, however, that there were a few things that remained unchanged and he listed some as teacher preparation, discipline and control in the classroom and a proper introduction to the lesson to attract children???s attention.

???Whatever technology, whatever methods you are using, you have, I think, to be in control of that classroom. The young charges that you have may be a bit more excitable than when I was teaching, but still, you have to be in control of that classroom???

???Whatever approaches we use, as helpful as these are, they are only tools. As helpful as the Khan Academy is, it is only a tool and we still have to deliver a lesson, using whatever term is used nowadays, but with the core remaining constant,??? he stressed.??Senator Husbands also thanked Frederick and Alex Eiden for assisting the children of Barbados, and JetBlue for donating the refurbished laptops.

Principal of St. Lukes/Brighton, Beverley Piggott, said her children were very excited about the technology and were eager to learn. She continued: ???The children worked feverishly at getting the programmes started and they showed promise. I hope ??? we can hold that interest and they will show improvement in their learning.???

Her fellow Principal, Jacqueline Andwele of St. Ambrose Primary, added that her school had bought into the programme. ???We have seen some minimum gains in terms of the improvement in Mathematics and the children want to learn??? We are really eager to continue the programme and I will devote more time on the timetable to facilitate that progress,??? she stated.

Khan Academy Ambassador, Alex Eiden, said there was ???incredible engagement??? by the students, especially at St. Lukes/Brighton Primary.??Those primary and secondary schools which will be involved in this year???s pilot phase of the Khan Academy Mathematics Initiative are: St. Christopher???s, Cuthbert Moore, Ellerton, Bay Primary, Bayleys, Hillaby/Turners Hall, Frederick Smith and Ellerslie.

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