Emphasis Placed On Mathematics In Education

Never has there been any other subjects like Maths and English, they are all schools in Nigeria want to hear about, if you decide science class is for you when entering Senior Secondary, then it becomes Mathematics, English and sciences. They are the core subjects of learning in schools as we all know.

Administrators want to know how good you are at those subjects before admitting you into their school. If you’ve ever switched schools you would recall they invite you to an interview, which are usually written tests, during the tests you would notice there are seldom any subjects other than Maths and English.

That is because they form the basis for understanding all the other subjects. English for instance allows communication, it is the language of the class and that of the school (and that of other subjects obviously), one must learn it first if he or she wants to know what is going on in their surroundings, at least in the school.

You don’t have to beat a ridiculous top score to satisfy the education system, an average score on both mathematics and English is enough to get you into many schools, colleges and a university of your choice.

Mathematics and English are being taught at the lowest academic levels, right from pre-nursery and nursery. They could not have picked a better age because that is when the brain is like a sponge, that way, you get a head start on these main subjects and acquire enough practice on the necessary skills needed for when you advance to advanced mathematics and beyond.

creativity is valued but mathematics takes precedence in school
Numeracy training starts from an early stage in school. Photo by various brennemans on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

Creativity is currently valued in the market, but still, mathematics and English take precedence in schools, because they are more interested in developing your logical thinking and communication skills, your musical or theatrically artistic skills can come later when you join those courses, you could even do them side-by-side with mathematics.

Learn why mathematics is applicable to so many subjects.

The Role Of Mathematics In Furthering Your Education

Maths is important to the fate of your education, if a person fails maths in either common entrance exams, junior WAEC, or one of the third term senior secondary school exams, in most schools they automatically have to repeat the class.

Even if the rest of your grades in other subjects are good, a fail in maths nullifies them.

To get admitted into a university one of the big criteria is to pass mathematics in the O'level exams. The requirements are a pass in 5 subjects including maths and English.   This applies to both WAEC/NECO and WASSCE.

If you chose to apply one of the science or technical courses, the other three subjects besides maths and English would be biology, physics and chemistry. But note that the 5 subjects are a minimum, you are required to register 8 subjects or more for the actual exams.

How Can Mathematics Grade Affect My Career?

If you have ever been to a job interview or applied for a job online, you would know that they take the matter of your qualifications seriously.

There is always a particular focus on your maths and English grades, 1) because they knew you wouldn’t graduate without them, and 2) because it gives them a feel of your overall academic competence and skills, which shall be applied in business.

The reason being that a good English grade shows how good you can express yourself especially in writing, you will be surprised to know how many people struggle with writing memos, letters and reports in the adult workplace. Job recruiters want to avoid hiring people like that.

Similarly, maths shows them your ability to deal with basic counting problems such as additions, fractions and ratios, and it is also a measure of your intelligence, of sorts, because dealing in numbers has always been acknowledged as a brain-demanding task.

So, if you ever wonder why most companies want to know your math's scores, and what has that got to do with anything, then you know now, they need to be sure you have what it takes, and your grades are evidence you really got what it takes.

Even though different companies have different views on the particulars of their ideal candidate, the basic, primary talent or skills of any role boils down to how good you were in those subjects.

But you have to keep in mind no matter your good grades, it’s not an absolute guarantee that you will get the job, a person that has working experience and perhaps has been a captain of their sport team at school immediately becomes a more attractive candidate, even if that person has ordinary mediocre grades.

This person comes off as responsible, which is a trait companies and businesses look out for when hiring.

This of course doesn’t mean you have to start strategizing ways to contest for the SUG presidency, no, don’t take on more than you can handle, or what you don’t even like. Your education is your biggest focus now. It is more important to excel academically, and later on gain experience as you start taking on jobs.

Taking on everything all at once will only mess with your end result, you won’t be good at any one thing. So a maths grade, good or bad, reflects on your career opportunities.

It is possible to get an A-level maths qualification as an adult, here’s how to get an Advanced level Mathematics qualification as a matured student.

Mathematics Could Be The Only Option You Have

Furthermore, if you are studying to apply for a technical subject at the tertiary level, then mathematics in your WAEC/NECO result will definitely be a deciding factor.

Most science courses and technical colleges only accept outstanding maths grades or something very close to a perfect score.

Also, if your dream job is one involving numbers and therefore maths, like banking and finance, then you may not have a choice in the matter.

Instead, approach it as you would any normal subject, revise often, and you are good.

If you are not feeling confident in your maths abilities, you can always find a maths tutor near you on Superprof. 

Mathematics as a Numerical Language

Maths as a subject is one of the most learned in schools around the world, it is also one of the most unique.

Very few distant isolated tribes are known to not have counting in their culture, but besides the like of those, numerals and how we calculate them are all the same throughout the entire world.

While the qualification standard in mathematics may not all be the same in different parts of the world, you can bet the concepts, topics, and level of understanding remains the same.

Mathematics for school children in Nigeria.
Mathematics could be solved differently but the answers will always arrive the same. Photo by llamnudds on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

It is extraordinary to think mathematics is the only language humans all over can speak and understand each other, regardless of race, gender, culture or nationality.

The way we solve maths in our classes in Nigeria could differ from say the way the French solve theirs in their home country, but the answers everyone arrives at will be the same. Just like 3.14 is always going to represent π wherever you are.

Prerequisites On Becoming A Mathematician

If you are one of those people that will study maths extensively in your advanced level, or have a course that is directly connected to mathematics, then you are well aware how important a good math’s grade is to you, the universities often accept students based on their suitability to the course.

If they find a better fit for you they could suggest you change the course.

Getting accepted is hard, especially in Federal and other government universities and polytechnics. Private universities however are easier to get in if you don’t mind the cost, as there isn’t much rush for admission as there is in government run tertiary institutions.

You need a minimum of five credits including mathematics and english to pass WAEC/WASSCE successfully.
You need a minimum of five credits including mathematics and English to successfully pass WAEC/WASSCE.

But they could be picky too about the kind of students they admit, they don’t want someone who would mar their image, they are particularly obsessed when it comes to upholding their image.

If you don’t have the prerequisites the universities want, and still want to pursue a career in maths, consider retaking your exams so that you will get a better chance going forward.

Why Study Towards A Qualification In Mathematics?

Well, to begin with, by studying maths you will develop a range of skills that are necessary to our day to day existence, and that are highly sought after by employers in the labour market. Logical thinking, problem solving and quick reasonable decisions under pressure are just some of them.

Also, you will get an edge in our modern society that is increasingly becoming more and more technical as technologies are attaching themselves to our lives now more than ever. Technical knowledge is needed if we are to interact, manage and fully use these machines.

For instance, take the budding market of online tools today; social media analysers, web traffic monitors, data visualization tools, online survey tools, grammar checkers, and so on, they all require an understanding of basic analytics and statistics, which are math topics through and through.

Without these qualities ingrained in a person, surviving in our modern times could be a challenge.

Find out more about A level mathematics exams and where to get revision materials and past questions. 

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Hafiz is a freelance writer who has an appetite for creativity and smart tech. He also dabbles in poetry.