Tue | Jan 25, 2022

Buju Banton Foundation teaches importance of math

Published:Sunday | November 21, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Denham Town High School Students at Importance of Mathematics for Life workshop
Denham Town High School Students at Importance of Mathematics for Life workshop

From left:  Paul Williamson (student), Kamau Mahakoe (facilitator/math specialist), Rosemary Duncan(director Buju Banton Foundation), and Tajay Bailey (student) pose for a photograph at the math workshop.
From left: Paul Williamson (student), Kamau Mahakoe (facilitator/math specialist), Rosemary Duncan(director Buju Banton Foundation), and Tajay Bailey (student) pose for a photograph at the math workshop.

In the first week of November, Donovan Hunter, principal at Denham Town High School, held a discussion with Rosemary Duncan, director at Buju Banton Foundation, requesting the Foundation present a workshop focusing on ‘The Importance of Mathematics for Life’. He lamented unsatisfactory CSEC results and students’ general lack of interest in the subject. That same week, the Foundation secured Kamau Mahakoe, award-winning educator and mathematics specialist, as facilitator for a workshop titled ‘ Importance of Mathematics for Life’, slated for Friday, November 12. Mahakoe is founder of Kemet Maasai Academy and author of Caribbean Mathematics for Secondary Schools Graphs textbooks.

The school selected 20 students from grades six, 10 and 11 and 30 students showed up for the workshop. Participants learned about the relevance of mathematics for daily life and career enhancement. Students’ general attitude to math is that ‘it is boring, hard’, ‘only nerds love math’, ‘we can get by without math’ and ‘we don’t need math for everyday life’. However, they were amazed to learn that every career field requires some knowledge of math, whether simple or complicated. Farmers, to weigh products, crops, livestock and fertilisers, too much or too little could affect crops. Chefs, to maintain consistent flavour of meals, they must be able to calculate measurements and know how to cost meals to make a profit. Architects, to plan blueprints and initial sketch designs. Civil engineers need knowledge of math to build functional bridges and other structures. Carpenters and joiners need knowledge of math to build furniture. In today’s world, builders use math daily; for example, to determine how much material is required for a job, quantity of steel or number of tiles. Pharmacists need sound knowledge of math as one extra pill issued could kill someone. Meteorologists use math to forecast the weather.

Mahakoe said, “Math is a study of numbers. It helps us understand our world. It builds special thinking, effective communication, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. We must learn to understand the language of math. When you understand the language of math, you will better understand the concept. She further reiterated, “Math and language skills complement each other. Whenever in math class, have a dictionary near you, just as in language class, as the names given to mathematical things give clues as to what the student should do to calculate the answer. Therefore, be sure to have a dictionary near you when doing math.”She urged participants to “Make use of whatever space you’re in to learn. Be it face-to-face or online. Math is a basic requirement for secondary/tertiary matriculation and job entry.”


Before Kamau completed the session, students were given real-world examples of math application. They enthusiastically participated in solving problems. The Buju Banton Foundation awarded prizes for correct answers.

Reggae and dancehall icon, Buju Banton, who is an alumnus of Denham Town High School, who participated virtually, imparted this message, “Mathematics is one of the most important subjects. Applicable in every career, including music and entertainment. Rhythm, harmonies, tone, pitch, etcetera, all involve math. Determining venue capacity, ticket prices, performance fees, certainly involves knowledge of mathematics. Therefore, take math seriously.Take education seriously, as it is your ticket to a better life. “

Suzzette Baker, assistant vice-principal at Denham Town High School, said,“The Buju Banton Foundation’s work, though a mammoth task, was able to deliver the importance of mathematics in all current and future endeavours. Kamau was quite helpful in changing the way students view and approach the subject of mathematics. The delivery of information was on point and to the level of the students to understand. Their participation showed they are interested in mathematics but need motivation to pursue the subject at a higher level. Hearing our students say ‘mi ago try harder wid maths’ gave the feeling of satisfaction. After having heard them complain about teachers’ delivery of the subject, this workshop has now allowed us to look at new ways of presenting this wonderful subject to students. It was indeed a pleasure to have had the Buju Banton Foundation present this mathematics workshop to students at Denham Town High School.”

The workshop was supported by Kremi Caribbean Cream, Susie’s Bakery & Coffee Bar, and Wisynco.