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African Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences

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On What Foundation is Africa Building its Science and Technology Base?: Africa\'s Participation in TIMSS-2003

J Anamuah-Mensah, DK Mereku

Abstract




In 2003, six African countries - Ghana Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Botswana and South
Africa - participated in an international assessment programme in science and mathematics,
called the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The study
examined the performance of eighth graders in mathematics and science as well as the
contextual factors that could have influenced the performance. Analyses of the data
indicated that in general the African countries performed poorly. Countries in the north of
Africa performed significantly better than those in sub-Saharan Africa. Generally they all
performed poorly on items that involved solving non routine problems and reasoning.
Examination of the context for learning science and mathematics revealed several
weaknesses in the curricula of the participating African countries. It indicated that majority
of the students did not have the opportunity to learn a substantial proportion of the content
assessed in the TIMSS even though these were part of their intended curricula. The least
use of technology (i.e. calculators and computers) in the curricula was also reported by the
African countries. Recommendations are made for African governments to pay attention to
the teaching of science and mathematics in the primary and secondary schools. The results
of the study suggest the need to carry out an indebt examination to identify the dimensions
of the problem for information that would be helpful in policy decisions to address the
issue across the continent.

African Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences Vol. 3 2005: pp. 1-8



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ajesms.v3i1.38598
AJOL African Journals Online