NEWS

Fiji National University Backs Decision On Maths Intake Mark

Students will be allowed to register in the different programmes, however will sit through a remedial mathematics class with the guidance of counsellors, who will advise students on their next step.
31 Jan 2020 15:35
Fiji National University Backs Decision On Maths Intake Mark
Professor Nigel Healey

The Fiji National University (FNU) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Healey, has reiterated the university’s support to reduce the mathematics intake mark from 50% to 30% per cent for the students’ best interest.

Approximately 7902 students sat for the Year 13 external examinations last year with the mathematics results recording the lowest pass rate for 2019.

“When this year’s Year 13 mathematics marks were unusually low, the three vice-chancellors had discussions with the Ministry of Education about how to deal with this situation, in the best interest of students,” Prof Healey said.

“The Ministry of Education was very concerned that students should not be penalised by an unusually difficult paper, but is no longer allowed to scale marks.  After consultation with the Ministry, FNU decided that if the marks were not going to be scaled, the alternative was to reduce the entry requirements for Year 13 mathematics by 20 per cent for selected programmes for which mathematics is a prerequisite.”

Students will be allowed to register in the different programmes, however, will sit through a remedial mathematics class with the guidance of counsellors, who will advise students on their next step.

The entry requirement for 23 programmes, which have mathematics as a prerequisite, were selected from the College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, College of Humanities and Education, College of Engineering, Science and Technology including a few engineering programmes, have been reduced to 30 per cent.

“It is important to stress that this is a rational response to an unusually difficult examination paper, which is routinely undertaken in countries with similar education systems like the United Kingdom and New Zealand,” Prof Healey said.

“It does not seem, as claimed in some alarmist social media posts, that FNU is ‘dumbing down’ its entry requirements.  Rather it means that we are maintaining standards in the face of variations in the difficulty of national examinations.”

The revised pass mark is for the 2020 entry only.

“Some of the social media posts, and even articles in the print media, have claimed that this year’s unusually low Year 13 mathematics results constitute a crisis in our schooling system and show that numeracy standards are plummeting,

“This is a grossly unfair attack on the teaching profession and, as five minutes on Google will confirm, is simply a problem with the 2019 examination paper, which happens from time to time in all education systems.”

FNU is liaising with the Tertiary Scholarship Loans Board to ensure that students are not adversely affected.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

Feedbackadi.sovasiga@fijisun.com.fj



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