Sunday, 29 January 2012

math - remains scary for most

I hopped on the International Math Olympiad (IMO) website which lists the ranking of countries those participated in it. For the year 2011, it shows that India stands at a ranking of 23, and when I look at the ranking for the previous years, it is shocking to see how the ranking has been running down the slope.. During the year 1998 the ranking stood at 7.During the last twenty three years, the ranking with a single digit has been only twice. And today in Times of India, there is an article under Times Crescent which talks on the similar topic. At the Schools and Colleges it is the race for taking a course that would get the best paying job and during all this race what has happened is...a student is turned into a machine that accepts inputs from various sides with no self learning. The interest of learning is kept aside while the interest to get a job is kept alive since the day one of school to the end of graduation day. This reminds of the movie Three Idiots which has shown this scenario really well. What has happened through the years in the education system is - make the pupil read and retain (not learn), give them loads of books, make them appear for various entrance exams and don't allow them to think and see what they really want to do. Courses have become more of a job oriented than of a benefit to a larger mass. Like, today, there are very few takers to learn about Math or do research in Math. The papers published on Math has been decreasing, thus giving very few people who can be part of National Research for the good of the larger mass. All the while what happens is the student is not able to cope up with too many things and devote good amount of time in studying on his own. This has lead to attending tuitions outside the school/college and tuitions have become like a must have thing for a student. Spending around 1/3 of the time at school and 1/4 of the time in tuitions, the student is not left with time to learn the things on own. This leading to fear about some subjects. Math has the large number of students who fear it. Mathofabia! Math requires ample time to be sent in learning how those can be applied in real life scenarios.. Learning about theorems, equations, etc is fun if the approach and the liking is towards learning the subject and enjoying it, than just being a passenger in the Math train where the knowledge is retained for just a while...after few months of exams, hardly most of the pupil would remember how to solve a problem... "Like being best on the job or eating a meal, learning can't be enjoyed unless there is a liking..." Well to increase liking and support Math, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh  declared 22nd December to be celebrated National Mathematics Day (in remembrance of contribution from Srinavasa Ramanujan) and 2012 as a year of 'National Mathematical Year' .

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