Initiative helps students overcome maths phobia


’Mantoetse Maama

Young Minds Education Director, James Mabeta, says the Universal Concept of Mental Arithmetic he introduced in Lesotho two years ago is helping students overcome their phobia for science and mathematics.

“Our initiative is called Young Minds Education, which is a mental and arithmetic development programme offered to children between the ages of three and 13 years.

“We help children with their concentration, observation, memorising, imagination, visualising, calculation speed and ability to process information. Our programme comprises 10 levels and each takes three to four months to complete,” Mr Mabeta told the Lesotho Times this week.

“We have lessons that take two hours per weekend. The programme has been derived from a system offered in over 54 countries, so it is a really tried and tested initiative.

“We established it in November 2012, so this is the second year it has been running in Lesotho, and the results have been very pleasing as those who have undertaken the programme have managed to overcome their phobia for the two subjects.”

Mr Mabeta, a Lerotholi Polytechnic graduate, said he decided to introduce the concept following his stint as a teacher.

“I was once a teacher and teaching mathematics and science subjects.  During that time, I learnt from my students that they had a phobia for mathematics and science. They feared the subjects to a point where they would dodge my lessons and come back for the next class.

“This worried me because I thought they did not like me as a person, but later learnt from fellow teachers in other schools that they were facing similar problems.”

Mr Mabeta also said students’ failure to appreciate maths and science also negatively impacts on their performance in other subjects.

“As a teacher, I realised that we had a problem which started from foundation level. Our children don’t have a good foundation for mathematics and all other science subjects. That’s the reason I decided to introduce this programme that offers mathematics at the grassroots. This helps kids have a good foundation and they even fall in love with subjects they hated in the past.

“We have a special Abacus that we use to teach kids to do calculations very fast and accurately.”

Mr Mabeta assured parents that with this programme, their children would never fail mathematics again.

“Once a child goes through this programme, he or she will never fail mathematics and that I can guarantee you. The programme gives the children an opportunity to follow any career in life without being restricted due to failure in mathematics and science subjects.

“This programme is popular in Asian countries, which is why the general populace there is very good in mathematics and science subjects.

“The programme helps kids have good concentration and grasp most of the things they learn in class and have good memory as we train them how to accomplish this. That enables them to perform well not only in mathematics and science but other subjects as well.”

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