Opposition Spokesman on Education Ronald Thwaites says the decline in Math passes in the May/June sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exam was expected given the shortage of qualified teachers for the subject area.
Mathematics recorded passes of 54.6 per cent, representing a 3.2 percentage point decrease.
Mr. Thwaites argued that there is a general shortage of qualified Math teachers, therefore, it was likely that this would "show up in the students' results."
"We have been losing Math teachers in quite some volume, also, there is a general shortage of qualified Math teachers in the system so this must show up in the students' results.
He urged the government to invest more in developing Math specialists in Jamaica, pointing out that the first cohort of teachers to receive specialised training, instituted in 2015, are now graduating and are bonded into the system.
"We need to multiply that - it's worth putting in the investment - so that we can develop enough Math teachers, some of whom will migrate but most of them will stay in Jamaica, and that's going to require them to be paid an incentive in order to have scarce talent available in the schools," he reasoned.
In the meantime, Mr. Thwaites wants the ministry to make provisions for students who performed poorly in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams.
"My concern is for three particular categories: one, those who got grade threes, who are barely proficient to go forward. Secondly, those who sat the exam and didn't get anything; what's going to happen to them? And thirdly, you will consider that each cohort entering high school at grade 7 is probably in the high 40,000, near to 50,000, but only 33,000 took these examinations. What has happened to the rest? They are the easy recruits into failure, anti-social behaviour and distress for themselves and the society. So in evaluating the success of our schools, we have to take these other factors into consideration," he suggested.