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ISSN : 2092-674X (Print)
ISSN : 2092-6758 (Online)
Asia-Pacific Collaborative education Journal Vol.13 No.1 pp.47-60
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14580/apcj.2017.13.1.47

Exploring the challenges and prospects of secondary school mathematics education and industry synergies for socio-economic transformation in Zimbabwe

Silvanos Chirume, Ph.D
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Senior Lecturer, Zimbabwe Open University, Midlands Regional Campus

Abstract

In order to achieve its vision of an empowered society and a growing economy by December 2018, Zimbabwe, through its ZimAsset economic blueprint (Government of Zimbabwe, 2013) has planned to resuscitate and recapitalise the local industry. Like other nations, Zimbabwe’s industrialised economy is growing quickly and becoming one that embraces information communication technologies. Mathematics education and mathematical literacy feature high on the list of factors that can lead to growth in industry and a vibrant economy. This study therefore sought to explore the challenges and prospects of secondary mathematics education and industry synergies for socio-economic transformation in Zimbabwe. Data were generated from semi-structured interviews carried out in a previous study with 28 conveniently selected parents and with two parents in this current study. Open-ended questionnaires (questaviews) were given to ten purposively selected employers, two conveniently chosen science and mathematics education inspectors and ten randomly selected secondary school mathematics teachers in Gweru District, Zimbabwe. It was found that parents and employers strongly voiced the importance of mathematics in industry and for the country at large and offered suggestions on curriculum changes which they wished to be implemented. Employers were unhappy with the mathematics education system in Zimbabwe, which focused more on theory and less on practical work, attachment and fieldwork. It was concluded that shortages of material and financial resources, negative attitude of stakeholders and lack of a proper policy were the challenges that could hinder implementation of mathematics education-industry synergies. Some of the recommendations were that the Government should come up with a national policy on a mathematics curriculum that links classroom-gained knowledge with students’ careers because it will lead to the economic, scientific and technological development of the country. It was also recommended that employers work together with the teachers involved in students’ assessment and attachment and help students produce goods and artefacts for sale and the sustenance of their communities. This would be in line with constructivism and education with production principles.

초록


 Introduction

Education plays a pivotal role in the development of societies, especially their industrial and economic development. This is highlighted by Jackson (1990, p.39) who gave a talk more than twenty-five years ago in Britain, illustrating the ‘cyclical link’ between education, industry and the economy by saying:
 

This is a parable if you like to illustrate the synergy between higher education, industry and the economy. As soon as we started to lose our economic pre-eminence in the 19th Century, first to Germany and then to America commentators such as Playfair started to point to a failure of our system of technical education to support our industrial firms as a cause of our relative economic decline.

 

This synergy is even stronger now in the 21st Century considering that education, industry and the economy are linked, directly or indirectly, to computer applications, engineering and innovative technologies (Miller, 2007; Earle, 2010).

One of the school subjects perceived by the majority of people to have greater importance in society, in economics and in industry is mathematics. According to Fatima (n.d., p. 9):

 

Mathematics is of central importance to modern society. It provides the vital underpinning of the knowledge of economy. It is essential in the physical sciences, technology, business, financial services and many areas of ICT. …Mathematics forms the basis of most scientific and industrial research and development. …Economics of the society is developed by establishment of industries. (For example), the applied mathematics like computational science, applied analysis, optimization, differential equation, data analysis and discrete mathematics etc are essential in industrial field.

 

In the Zimbabwean context the Nziramasanga Commission (1999) says that participants at a workshop pointed out the weak linkage between industry and education (vocational and technical colleges). In particular, this relationship was weak in terms of defining the skills demanded by employers, determining the most appropriate technologies to be taught, imparting correct work ethics, including time keeping and teamwork, determining criteria for assessing the performance of lecturers, flexibility of curricula content to cater for the needs of industry, expectations of industry from college projects, and joint programmes and other activities. It was believed or suspected that education produced “graduates who do not want to make their hands dirty” (p. 421). It would be interesting to find out whether such beliefs or scenarios still pertain to Zimbabwe today or whether the situation has changed.

Conceptual framework

This study is based on the idea or conceptual framework of having sustainable linkages between the education and industry sectors of the economy, explained as university-industry collaboration or knowledge transfer in the open innovation framework by Kutvonen, Kautonen, Tuunainen, Lehenkari, Savitskaya and Muhonen (2013). If both education and industry are viewed as economic enterprises, ‘synergy’ would be a better word than collaboration. The theory of ‘synergy’ (Benecke, Schurink and Roodt; 2007) explains that “synergy results from the process of making better use of resources, including physical assets such as manufacturing facilities, and invisible property such as brand name, customer knowledge, technological expertise and corporate culture” (p. 9). Thus, during the process of education for socio-economic transformation, students should be constructing knowledge, sharing it with others and applying this knowledge to their real life experiences and the world of work. This would also be in line with education with production principles.

Purpose of the study

This study sought to explore the challenges and prospects of secondary school mathematics education and industry synergies for socio-economic transformation in Zimbabwe.

Statement of the problem

Parents have often voiced concern over the inability of school graduates (even those with good grades in mathematics) to find suitable employment or to create their own jobs while employers too have voiced concern over school graduates lacking employable skills. Teachers and educationists have also been wary of a mathematics curriculum that is too ‘shallow,’ too theoretical and unrelated to the world of work. Such seemingly weak, or absence of, synergies between secondary school mathematics education and industry do not auger well for the socio-economic transformation of Zimbabwe.

Research Questions

1. Is there any need for the Zimbabwean societies to have synergies of and between mathematics education and industry?

2. What can be done to make such synergies a reality?

3. What are the benefits of the secondary mathematics education-industry synergies to the economy?

4. What are the challenges that can negatively affect the synergies? 

5. How can industries assist the mathematics education sector?

6. How can the mathematics education sector and industries work together?

Review of related literature

It has been documented that mathematics plays an important role in the development of societies (Fatima, n.d.). Mathematics is also important in business (Power, 1989), in engineering practice and in the formation of engineers (Goold, 2012). However, employers have raised concern over the quality of mathematics education, in particular over the inexperience of school graduates to use mathematics in the workplace. According to Damlamian and Straßer (2009, p. 525):

 

... there are frequent articles and debates in the popular media citing employer dissatisfaction with the perceived quality of mathematics education. Graduates from schools, vocational colleges, and universities often appear unable to draw upon and use mathematics in work situations as opposed to classroom or examination contexts. At all educational levels, students typically have been taught the tools of mathematics with little or no mention of authentic real world applications, and with little or no contact with what is done in the workplace.

 

It would appear therefore, that there is need or a stronger synergy between education and industry, particularly between mathematics education and industry. In Zimbabwe, for instance, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has highlighted one of the aims of the new curriculum as to “prepare leaners for life and work in a largely agro-based indigenised economy and an increasingly globalised and competitive environment” (Secretary’s Circular No 2 of 2017, p. 2). ‘Collaboration’ is mentioned as one of the key aspects that can enhance curriculum implementation and monitoring of quality. However, the Circular does not mention collaboration between education or mathematics education, and companies or industries.

A school graduate in Zimbabwe can get employed in industry after acquiring at least five subject passes with a grade of C or better at the Ordinary Level of the secondary school phase. Thus teachers should assist learners at the secondary school level to be more positive about their career aspirations and to have knowledge of employer expectations of graduates. In this vain the Nziramasanga Commission (1999, p.327) says that most of the secondary school mathematics teachers in Zimbabwe are young, 73.6% of them being under 30 years of age, and therefore lack experience in teaching and the application of mathematics to commerce and industry. Industry should work together with teachers, Audio Visual Services and Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) to produce commercial teaching/learning aids and equipment designed with the Zimbabwean pupil in mind.

Learners would like to learn contexts of mathematics that are relevant and related to their different career aspirations but there should be a balance in the mathematics curriculum between the contextual interests of students, teachers, parents and designers of curriculum and learning resources (Holtman, Julie, Mikalsen, Mtetwa and Ogunniyi; 2008).

Nonetheless, the need for higher education and industry has been over-subscribed (e.g., Jackson, 1990; Talaba and ten Thij, 2007). According to the Government of Zimbabwe (2013, p.109), an important outcome within the cluster of human capacity building and development is “improved linkages among higher and tertiary education, research institutions, industries and government.” Higher education could work with industry through supporting highly qualified manpower and updating/upgrading those already in the workforce, through research and development and through technology transfer (Jackson, 1990, p.40).

More specifically, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2008) points out the ways in which mathematics education and industry can work together. Some of these are:

 

-Interdisciplinary Research Centres - where mathematical scientists interact with industrial researchers to jointly address industrial problems.

-Faculty Positions for Industrial Mathematics –where collaborations are made to reshape academic curricula and postdoc activities to the needs of industry.

-Research Internships - where a graduate student or postdoc is placed in the company for a certain period of time.

-Personnel Exchange Partnerships - where graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are brought into national laboratories and industry and industrial scientists and engineers go to give presentations in universities while faculty members move into industry.

-Education-industry study groups, consultancy, translation of technology and transnational cooperation (exchange programs) are some of the ways of enhancing mathematics education and industry synergies (OECD, 2008).

 

According to the SIAM Report (2012), graduate education should focus on the exposure to applications of mathematics, problem-solving, computation, communication and teamwork. These are also what employers expect of the graduates (Australian Government’s Department of Science and Training, 2005).

However, there can be challenges of implementing mathematics education and industry synergies. Some people from both parties can infringe on confidentiality agreements and intellectual property rights. Both parties can also look down upon each other and lack positive attitude towards the benefits of the synergies. According to the European Science Foundation (2010) a lack of political, societal and financial support, international competition, as well as the way applied mathematics is taught at the curriculum level are some of the challenges that can negatively affect the smooth implementation of the synergies.

Suggestions as to how the challenges could be overcome or how the synergies could be more implementable have been put forward. For instance, the SIAM Report (2012) offers suggestions at the students’ level, faculty level, and business, industrial, and government organizations level.

At the students’ level and for the benefit of the students, mathematics departments can:

 

- organise a regular inter-disciplinary seminar or colloquium focusing on applications of mathematics, and invite scientists from industrial or government organisations to speak,

- invite non-academic mathematicians to meet with current students for informal discussions about their work and to present a high-level description of an important practical problem,

- organise technical talks in which students are critiqued by their fellow students,

- organise visits by students in mathematics departments to local industry or government laboratories to meet with mathematical scientists and,

- pursue opportunities for vacation jobs, cooperative employment, or internships in industry or government laboratories, or for participation in applications-focused workshops.

 

Suggestions for faculty include encouraging mathematicians, scientists, and engineers from industry to speak in and attend mathematics seminars and colloquia, asking questions about the curriculum to departmental graduates working outside academia, and inviting those graduates to return and give a colloquium. Interested faculty members should also consult with or spend time in industry.

Suggestions for business, industrial, and government organizations include attending colloquia, meeting with students, offering to give talks, and inviting students and faculty members for informal visits to the company or organization. Company managers can also invite mathematicians to give technical seminars at their institutions, meet informally with interested employees and offer internships to talented students.

The European Science Foundation (2010) further suggests that industry and education sectors can develop a journal to publish programmes and research findings together. The Nziramasanga Commission (1999) alludes to the same point by recommending that communication channels and mechanisms should be put in place to facilitate an exchange of information between researchers nationally and internationally. Even school children should be allowed and assisted to carry out research.

ICM (2009) suggests that “a partnership between mathematics and industry requires adjustments of the mathematics curriculum in order to prepare students for both the needs of mathematics and the requirements of industry” (p.530). The Nziramasanga Commission (1999) further recommends that “Math, science and technology should be strengthened by exposing pupils/students to situations in commerce and industry where they can observe and participate in their applicability” (p.348). The Commission has also recommended that small-scale income generating projects at high schools through the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce be put in place to offer assistance to students, and that young scientist exhibitions in schools and private sector organisations be put in place. The researcher strongly believes that teachers and lecturers should often be attached to industry if they are to teach students important applications of mathematics in industry and to effectively assess students during industrial attachments. There is need for the Government to frame and put in place legal instruments and policies for attachment.

Materials and Methods

This study employed a mixed methods research paradigm (QUAL-Quan) whereby the qualitative analysis dominated the quantitative analysis with the two data types used to complement one another (Ross and Onwuegbuzie, 2012). In the QUAL-Quan approach, the survey design was used. When collecting data for his doctoral thesis, the researcher used semi-structured interviews with 28 conveniently selected parents (Author, 2016). The parents were asked, among other things, why companies need mathematics, and the importance of mathematics in society and for the economy. The data collected when carrying out the doctoral thesis will be presented here. In this study, two more parents (of similar characteristics) were asked whether there is need for schools and industries to work together, and what could be the challenges faced by such synergies. Also, data for this study was generated from open-ended questionnaires (questaviews) given to ten purposively selected employers, two conveniently chosen science and mathematics education inspectors and ten secondary school mathematics teachers. The teachers were purposively chosen from twenty schools which had been randomly selected from Gweru District, Zimbabwe. According to Busch, De Maret, Flynn, Kellum, Le, Meyers, Saunders, White and Palmquist (2012, p.1):

 

Content analysis is a research tool used to determine the presence of certain words or concepts within texts or sets of texts. Researchers quantify and analyze the presence, meanings and relationships of such words and concepts, then make inferences about the messages within the texts…

 

 

The researcher used the content analysis method to analyse data from the interview excerpts and from the open-ended questionnaires.

Findings and Discussion

Parents’ views (n=28)

The researcher was guided by some pre-written questions on why companies need mathematics, and the importance of mathematics in society and for the economy. The questions could be rephrased and translated into the local Shona language for ease of communication with parents who could not understand English. The important ‘voices’ or points raised by the parents’ were transcribed on paper and in English. Similar or related points were then grouped together and quantified. Below is the analysis of the data.

 

... companies need maths for stock take and cash balances                                                                               10 (35.7%)

... companies need maths for counting, calculating and budgeting their resources                                         7 (25%)

... maths is needed to increase company productivity and profit                                                                       5 (17.9%)

... companies need maths for record making and keeping (e.g. tables, graphs)                                                2 (7.1%)

... maths promotes creative thinking and planning in the company                                                                   2 (7.1%)

... with maths knowledge workers get organised                                                                                                     1 (3.6%)

... companies screen employees on the basis of maths scores                                                                             1 (3.6%)

 

The above information given by the interviewees suggest that all parents were in agreement that mathematics is important in the companies and industries, the major importance (78.6%) being attached to money related issues (cash balances, budgeting resources, profit etc). Some parents (10.7%) also recognised that mathematics promotes creative thinking and good behaviour (‘being organised’) in the companies. These attributes of good behaviour and creativity are important and should also be nurtured starting in the home and then being re-emphasized at school level.

The same parents were asked to air their views in respect of the importance of mathematics for the country at large, i.e., for socio-economic transformation and this is what they said:

 

Responses                                                                                  Frequency (%)

... maths is important for national budgeting                                   10 (35.7%)

... maths is important for a country’s productivity and economic growth                                                         7 (25%)

... maths is important for a country’s technological development and innovation                                          4 (14.3%)

... maths produces citizens who are logical thinkers                                                                                               3 (10.7%)

... maths knowledge is used in national statistics (e.g. census)                                                                             3 (10.7%)

... maths is used to offer services to the country (e.g. teaching)            1 (3.6%)

 

The reasons given above again suggest that all parents viewed mathematics as being important for the country at large, with most of them thinking in terms of the country’s productivity, economic and technological development. Similar sentiments were echoed in the Nziramasanga Commission (1999)’s recommendations. Thus a new mathematics curriculum, if it is to be designed and implemented, should include technological development, productivity, logical thinking and economic growth as some if its broad outcomes. 

 

Parents’ views (n=2)

In this study both parents pointed out similar sentiments as those pointed out during the doctoral study. In addition, they agreed that schools and industries should have strong synergies (Research Question 1). One male parent said:

Our children have too much book knowledge but little hands-on experience necessary for the field of work. If such synergies are in place, company supervisors and technicians can be given some time to go to schools to impart practical knowledge to the children. Our kids should not shun practical work.

On the issue of challenges (Research Question 4) likely to be faced by education-industry synergies, the other parent (a female) said:

Educators and captains of industry should trust one another. Mistrust and looking down upon each party as lacking knowledge or technical knowhow can negatively affect the smooth running of the synergies. Another thing could be the lack of a constitution binding the two groups.

The researcher agrees that there is need of a ‘constitution’ or policy framework governing the synergies. The need for education-industry policies have been articulated elsewhere (e.g. Talaba and ten Thij, 2007; European Science Foundation, 2010; SIAM, 2012). However, the researcher is currently not aware of such a Zimbabwe industries and education policy in place.

 

Teachers’ views (n=10)

There were 5 male and 5 female teachers who responded to the questionnaire. Their average age was 49.3 years and average working experience 25.3 years. Their highest academic qualification was a PhD and lowest qualification was a bachelor’s degree. Three of the teachers said that the minimum educational qualification for school graduates to be employed in industry is a first degree while seven believed that at least five ‘O’ Level with a grade of C or better would be adequate.

Educational qualifications alone were deemed not to be sufficient because the teachers said personal qualities were also important. Among the personal qualities needed by school graduates, the following had high frequencies: self-starter, team player, diligent worker, committed worker, knowledgeable worker and one willing to be exposed to practical work. The teachers further believed that employees with the secondary school maths pass or qualification produce more goods/services than those employees without the maths pass. One teacher stated:

 

Yes, mathematical concepts are key in our day to day transactions and in areas such as engineering. … yes, without considering physical strength, one with a pass in Maths quickly receives instructions, uses mathematical problem solving to respond to the instructions and works out the problem in a shorter time than one without Maths.

 

All the teachers agreed that there is need for the Zimbabwean societies to have synergies of and between mathematics education and industry (Research Question 1). Some of their reasons were as follows: math is applicable in every sector BUT the curriculum should be relevant, maths is key in industrial activities. One respondent believed that such synergies should be put in place when students are at their advanced level of learning but did not elaborate. The teachers believed that for the synergies to be a reality, schools should promote Olympiad competitions which should be funded by companies, industries should provide scholarships, and that the school or education authorities should create partnerships/working relationships between industry, schools and universities.

Challenges that can negatively affect the synergies were also pointed out (Research Question 4). Among these were a tough economic climate, lack of initiatives and negative attitude. One teacher wrote, “… some parents are not willing to allow their children to be involved in manual labour for the benefit of the school or industry.” However, all the teachers believed that there were economic benefits to secondary mathematics education-industry synergies (Research Question 3). They said the synergies may promote numeracy among employees, and develop more skilled employees and better problem solvers. One said “Math is a vehicle to industrialisation which helps to propel the country’s economy.”

On how industries can assist the mathematics education sector, the respondents, on one hand, believed that industries could give financial sponsorship to the best students, give schools and colleges practical models (or aids) to use during instruction, and provide books and other resources, especially to disadvantaged schools. On the other hand, the teachers pointed out that the mathematics education sector and industries can work together during curriculum planning, policy formulation and curriculum evaluation. Similar sentiments on curriculum planning were echoed by Damlamian and Straßer (2009) and also by SIAM (2012).

 

Education Inspectors’ views (n=2)

The Science and Mathematics Education Inspectors (SEI and MEI respectively) responded to similar questions to those given to the mathematics teachers. These inspectors expressed mixed views about the secondary school mathematics syllabus and mixed to negative views about the assessment methods. For instance, the MEI pointed out that, “… some topics are not relevant to pupils’ lives” meaning not relevant to the field of work but did not give a list of such topics. The SEI was also concerned about too much ‘theoretical’ assessment that is done in schools and wrote, “… assessment methods need to be practical oriented and should examine learners, not only on what they think but also on what they actually do and produce.” Both inspectors were in favour of strong synergies between mathematics education and industry and offered similar suggestions to those proposed by the mathematics teachers.

 

Employers’ views (n=10)      

All respondents to the employers’ questionnaire were male, of an average age of 38.3 years and an average working experience of 16 years. The companies had a number of employees ranging from 5 to 250. The employers pointed out that the qualifications a prospective employee needed to possess for him/her to be employed were five “O” Level passes, including English and Maths. One employer further pointed out that English and Accounts were necessary or an additional certificate in machine shop/fabrication and engineering, especially for artisans.  

The employers agreed that employees with the secondary school maths pass or qualification produce more goods/services than those employees without the maths pass. They pointed out that an employee with a pass in Maths shows high levels of thinking, quickly grasps new concepts or concepts of a technical nature. In the world of work, most operations involve mathematical concepts and calculations are carried out on a daily basis, hence mathematics is important in industry. Thus the employers were of the idea that there is need for the Zimbabwean societies to have synergies of and between mathematics education and industry. Supporting the idea of synergies one employer wrote, “… synergies help societies to work in harmony and with mutual trust” while another opined that “…scholars/students will know the essence of maths in industry, its practical applications and it will not be a foreign world when they engage into science and technology professions.”

In order to make such synergies a reality (Research Question 2) the employers were of the view that first; statistics on how many employees in industry have maths and to what extent have industries benefited because of them needed to be collected, second; industry representatives needed to be involved when drawing up syllabi, and lastly school heads or college principals needed to partner with companies/industries and allow captains of industry to meet students and discuss essence/applications of maths in industry.  

The challenges that could negatively affect the synergies were outlined as: some people feeling side lined, political polarisation and lack of funds to facilitate students’ trips to industries. However, it was believed that if such challenges could be overcome there could be benefits to the economy. Some of the benefits envisioned were that the country would have people with the potential to think mathematically and avoid losses and that people with math could easily regulate the economy.                  

Various suggestions on how industries could assist the mathematics education sector were offered (Research Question 5). These were providing the education sector with required resources and tools, funding seminars and symposia where scholars can air their concerns pertaining to their math studies and relevance to industry, and employers giving talks in schools on the demands of industry and advantages in certain sectors. One employer echoed that, “… employers should allow students to be attached at their companies and provide career guidance to students who are the future economy propellers.” Another employer supported these ideas by saying, “… the issue of companies supporting the education sector is noble because it is one of their community responsibilities -their taxes will be reduced.” The researcher also believes that companies can make students aware of what happens in industry through published brochures.

There are various ways in which the mathematics education sector and industries can work together (Research Question 6). These sentiments were raised by the employers as well as the teachers: having regular public workshops where one part states what they expect from the other and having regular relevant communications. Similar ideas were pointed out by the European Science Foundation, (2010). Also, in the researcher’s doctoral thesis employers who were interviewed gave several suggestions regarding education-industry synergies. According to Author (2016, p. 139), some of the suggestions were:

 

… forming partnerships with schools and giving practical attachments, career guidance and practical skills in order to entice children to like mathematics (27.3%), donating resources to the needy and those in remote areas and giving awards to excelling mathematics students (27.3%), giving incentives to teachers to increase their morale (18.2%), recruiting employees with Mathematics as a motivational tactic (18.2%) and involving employers in curriculum designing (9%).

 

 

These were considered to be worthwhile suggestions but time, more knowledge, resources and commitment could be needed to make them effective. The researcher conjectures that students might know that mathematics is indeed needed in companies and industries but might not know what or how the mathematics is to be applied. An observed weakness of the secondary school mathematics curriculum is that there are no guidelines for direct application to industry, attachment or career guidance. Hence the need for secondary school mathematics and industry synergies.

After critically analysing the contents of the interview excerpts and the responses in the open ended questionnaires, the challenges of coming up with the synergies (from all respondents) were grouped into themes. The themes were benefits of synergies to the communities and the economy at large, attitudes towards collaboration, challenges of mistrusting one another, shunning manual work (not wanting ‘to make ones’ hands dirty’), industries currently being cash strapped, and a lack of government policy on education-industry synergies. The challenges tally with findings of Mandebvu (1996) who carried out a study to assess the relevance of school education to employment in the city of Harare and concluded that most employers were unhappy with the education system in Zimbabwe because schools lacked manpower and technology to offer vocational and technical skills to students. Mandebvu (1996) urged the Government and employers to cooperate.

Conclusions

In this and the previous doctoral study carried out by the researcher (Author, 2016), parents and employers strongly voiced the importance of mathematics in industry and for the country at large and offered suggestions on curriculum changes which they wished to be implemented. Teachers and education inspectors were in favour of the synergies but raised concerns on how the synergies could be put into practice and how they could be sustained. They also raised concerns on the lack of government policy. The researcher believes that such challenges could be overcome if all stakeholders could have a ‘new mindset shift.’ Findings presented in this study have attempted to answer the research questions put forward by the researcher.

Recommendations/Way forward

As a way of cementing these synergies it is suggested that industries should form partnerships with schools and offer attachments and prizes to students and incentives to teachers. Assessment techniques should include individual class work, group work, homework, project work and field work.  Students’ project work and field work should result in goods and services that can generate income for the student, the school and the society at large. Here employers are key stakeholders and should work together with the teachers involved in students’ attachment and assessment thereof. This would be in line with constructivism and education with production principles. It is also recommended that the Government come up with a national policy on a secondary school mathematics curriculum that links classroom-gained knowledge with students’ careers because it will lead to the economic, scientific and technological development of the country. Finally, there could be need for further research, probably focussing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and industry collaborations or synergies at various levels.

Figure

Table

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