Prof Fletcher, who is the Dean of Faculty of Education at the University of Ghana, blamed the appalling performance in the two core subjects on poor policy initiatives, application of wrong teaching methods, unqualified teachers and poor preparation by students towards examinations.
The Dean made this known during the West African Examination Council’s (WAEC) 21st Endowment Fund lecture held on the theme: “Performance in Mathematics and Science; Breaking the jinx.”
The lecture forms part of the Council’s 64th annual meeting, the “biggest” gathering on the examining body’s annual calendar, of which the Ghana Chapter of WAEC is hosting the event this year.
Professor Fletcher ascribed the poor performance to limited teaching and learning resources, unqualified mathematics and science teachers flooding the education sector and lack of preparation by students to invest quality time in studies and examinations.
He said the teacher training institutions in many cases trained teachers to master the pedagogy [teaching skills] to handle mathematics and science, but unfortunately, those teachers are deficient in the content of the subjects.
In another instances, he said, graduates billed to teach the two core subjects, could have control of the subject matter but lacked the pedagogy to deliver the lessons with the appropriate alacrity and teaching aids.
“If we want to halt the rot, we have to look at what is happening, weak computational skills of students, low confidence of students, and teachers doing the same thing over and over again,” he said.
Quoting copiously from leaders of the United States of America, United Kingdom and China, Prof Fletcher said they have used deliberate policies to promote the teaching and learning of mathematics and science to spur their technological advancement and growth, but the Ghanaian society was still characterised with superstitious beliefs.
“Science and technology are the good areas we must embrace to spur growth, but our system is too much of superstition, a lot of things are based on superstition instead of science,” Prof Fletcher said.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimated in 2015 that if Ghana could realise universal basic skills this would increase the country’s gross domestic product by 2000 per cent.
He said mathematics, science and technology are the panacea to the country’s development challenges but regrettably, Ghana had only become the consumers of technology instead of producers.
Prof Fletcher also presented records that show that students’ performance in Mathematics rose from about 25 per cent in 2007 to peak at around 43 per cent and finally tumbled to around to 24 in 2015.
While the performance in science in 2007 recorded a little over 23 per cent, it rose to 56 per cent and thereafter dropped to about 23 per cent in 2015.