Columnists Features

Girls doing well in science, mathematics

FROM the time various stakeholders and the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education started encouraging girls to develop interest in science and mathematics, female pupils have been performing well in the two subjects.
And from the look of things, the girl children are doing better than boys as far as science and mathematics are concerned. As a country, we are increasingly seeing the girl children pursuing mathematics, science and engineering courses.
At many higher institutions of learning, the interesting part is that many of our girls are getting outstanding awards as compared to the boys. But the question is: what has really happened to the boy child of yesterday?
In the past, boys dominated the field of science and mathematics, while the girls did very well in English, especially at grades nine and 12 levels. We seriously need to find out why boys are no longer dominating this field. Is it because the boys are spending more time on patronising bars?
The boys should know that things are changing in the world today, and if they don’t work extra hard, girls will be doing more science related professions and the boys will end up doing professions that were initially occupied by the girl child.
Please get me right! I am not in any way saying that it is bad to have girls doing mathematics, science or engineering courses. After all, they are contributing to the socio-economic and technological advancement of mother Zambia.
What we want to see is boys and girls compete favourably in mathematics, science and engineering fields. We need our boys to be as focused as the girls and to ensure that they study hard and do more research in their fields.
As teachers and parents, we are also required to encourage both boys and girls to take science and mathematics very seriously as this is one way of adding value to the country’s development.
Let us all put more emphasis on science and mathematics as the country depends on the same for development. Our boys and girls should be encouraged to get interested in science, mathematics, technology and engineering.
It is, however, gratifying to observe that the struggle to encourage girl children to develop interest in mathematics and science is slowly but surely bearing fruit.
On the part of government, the wonderful decision to create Mukuba University on the Copperbelt is commitment enough to producing more mathematics and science teachers.
By the way, Zambia is today having more girls studying science courses at various teacher training colleges and universities. This is also encouraging majority of our girl children in secondary schools to work extra hard.
One student teacher at the Mufurila College of Education who is doing her teaching experience on the Copperbelt, Regina Mumba, said: “Time when boys were on top in terms of science is long gone. As girls, we just need to believe in ourselves to achieve our dreams.”
Indeed, the sky is no longer the limit as long as girl children remain focused and work hard to enhance their knowledge in science and mathematics.
All schools should ensure that boys and girls are encouraged to Join (JETS) clubs. So far, JETS has done a lot of good to many boys and girls by according them an opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills.
Every year, we see science and mathematics teachers organising JETS fairs at school, zone, district, provincial and national levels. It is encouraging to see some pupils who once took part in JETS activities while at school, going a step further in their career both in government and private sectors.
As teachers, parents and other stakeholders, we should strive to inculcate the spirit of hard work and love for science and mathematics in our children.
If we all worked like the Chinese, our country would develop at a very fast rate in terms of science and technology. I am aware of our government’s commitment to promoting science in schools as evidenced by the stocking of schools with science books and other materials.
However, our school managements and parent teachers’ associations should supplement Government’s efforts by purchasing science and mathematics books from the not so adequate user fees.
Anyway, if sports activities can be funded by school managements, what can stop them from spending a few coins on pupils and teachers’ books in science and mathematics?  With good planning and putting priorities right, everything is possible.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank the followers of this column for their words of encouragement and support.
To Alice Gondwe, Elemiya Phiri of Lusaka, Gideon Thole of Luanshya Municipal Council, Georginah Luapula and Patrick Luvota, I say thank you so much!

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