PEDAGOGICAL NEEDS OF NON-MATHEMATICIANS LEARNING MATHEMATICS AT UNIVERSITIES - THE CASE OF UGANDA
This paper highlights the findings of a study aimed at improving the teaching and learning of mathematics by non-mathematicians at Universities. It follows a policy by the Ugandan government to make mathematics compulsory at Advanced level. Will the policy improve the teaching and learning of mathematics at Universities?
A survey research design is used, with purposive sampling. The study involved 100 working professionals, 100 undergraduate students from 5 universities in Uganda and 20 lecturers of mathematics. The study aimed at finding practical ways or strategies of teaching mathematics to undergraduate students who are studying mathematics for its application but not to become mathematics specialists. What pedagogical approach suits them?
As lecturers complain about poor mathematics background and abilities among undergraduates, the students blame the teaching approaches, right from secondary schools. Over 60% of Undergraduate students enter university mathematics classes with a math deficit; they study mathematics at primary and lower secondary, skip it at High School and rejoin at University. This view tends to support the government’s policy of compulsory Mathematics at Advanced level. The schemes of joining university education also seem to bring into one class a mix of students with diverse mathematics orientations-certainly not with the same background knowledge. In order to achieve the course objectives, the teaching should focus on the weakest student in this mixed class- a primary approach of teaching. Students feel universities should shift from lecturing to teaching.