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Basic Education

Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education Project (SMASE Nigeria)

1. Background

In Nigeria, improving quality of Mathematics and Science education is essential for national development, more specifically, joining one of the top industrial countries in the world in accordance with the Vision 2020. Teacher development, especially at the primary and secondary schools, is the key factor.

To this end, JICA is now implementing a technical cooperation project, titled “Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education Project” (SMASE) jointly with the Federal Ministry of Education.

2. Overview of SMASE Project

The overall goal of the Project is to upgrade:

  • Capability of Nigerian primary school pupils in mathematics and science
  • Teaching skills of primary school teachers in mathematics and science

3. Counterpart Agency

Federal Ministry of Education

4. Main Characteristic of SMASE Project

(1) Focusing on In-Service Education Training (INSET)

SMASE Project addresses improving quality of teachers in terms of attitude, pedagogy, mastery of content, resource mobilization and utilization of locally available teaching materials.

(2) ASEI & PDSI Approach

SMASE Project aims to shift teaching paradigm from “banking style/chalk & talk” to “ASEI & PDSI approach” in pilot states (Kaduna, Plateau, Niger). ASEI & PDSI approach is the effective approach for ensuring the quality of mathematics and science lessons and their steady improvement. ASEI, which is an acronym for Activities, Students, Experiments and Improvisation is a key word in the SMASE project for lesson innovation. ASEI lesson is made possible through PDSI practice (Plan, Do, See, Improve).

(3) Cascade Approach

The approach consists of two levels:

  • Training of National and State Trainers.
  • Training of the Classroom Teachers

(4) African Home Growing Initiative

SMASE-WECSA (*) Network, which is the network connecting among Sub-Sahara African countries in the area of mathematics and science education, will be utilized in training the National and State trainers in the third country (Kenya). The classroom teacher will be trained at the INSET centers in each pilot state.

(*) SMASE = Strengthening Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education


(5) Evidence-based Approach

The Federal Ministry of Education and JICA conducted a baseline survey in 2005 to ascertain the strategies in use, the needs and challenges facing teaching learning of mathematics and science at primary education level. Major findings of the survey presented to stakeholders showed a mirage of difficulties such as (i) poor Teacher-Pupil strategy, (ii) perceived difficult concepts, (iii) monotonous use of lecture method of teaching and (iv) inadequate and poor utilization of available teaching materials to mention but few.

JICA’s intervention is to put in place a system of INSET for teachers of mathematics and science education in Nigeria that can be adapted and replicated in other states of the Federation apart from the pilot states.


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