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Expert Blame Tech for Students’ Math Struggles

Education expert Dr. Rozious Siatwambo blames the declining performance in math on students’ overreliance on technology, hindering their problem-solving skills.

Math scores have been a growing concern in Zambia, with the 2023 Grade 12 exams showing a drop in the national average to 26%, compared to 28% in 2022. This is particularly worrisome as math is a critical subject for many fields of study.

Dr. Siatwambo, who is also the owner of Great North Road Academy, believes students are becoming too reliant on technology like calculators, even for simple problems.

This, he argues, weakens their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, crucial for success in math.

“The major factor… is the coming of technology,” Dr. Siatwambo stated in an interview with the Zambian Business Times. “People are now moving away from reliance on the brain and now relying on technology.”

He suggests a two-pronged approach to address the issue. First, schools need to prioritize teaching problem-solving skills and critical thinking. Second, technology use in classrooms needs reevaluation.

While some argue that English language instruction contributes to the decline, Dr. Siatwambo maintains that proficiency in both English and math are essential.

He highlights the importance of English in interpreting mathematical concepts and analytical thinking.

He also blames our “busy” society and social media for students’ shortened attention spans and unwillingness to read.

To counter these trends, Dr. Siatwambo’s academy has implemented programs to spark curiosity, analytical thinking, and problem-solving.

These include using an abacus to encourage faster mental math calculations and daily exercises that don’t involve calculators.

Dr. Siatwambo concludes by emphasizing the need for a curriculum that keeps pace with technological advancements and the changing world.

He acknowledges the development of a new curriculum but fears it may be outdated by the time it’s fully implemented.

Source: Zambia Business Times

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