Since 2003
MathNED started advocating for the use of mathematics
for national education and development. Personnel from
MathNED toured some secondary schools and training
colleges in the country to motivate students to rekindle
their interest in mathematics. There were activity-based
demonstration lessons in mathematics and talks on
everybody can do mathematics. However, these visits had
to be postponed because no help came from the Ghana
Education Service or the Ministry of Education, Science
and Sports although help was sought from these sources.
Corporate Ghana’s response was not any better.
However, what I hear everyday is the trauma students
experience while they study mathematics. Why is
mathematics compulsory? Is it not because of its
importance in all spheres of life? Why are we paying lip
service to the study of mathematics and its application
to our national development? Are we not aware that
mathematics ensures the efficiency of all things that we
do? Countries that are aware of this and use mathematics
to shape their national development are called
developed. Can’t we do likewise in Ghana?
In
spite of the seemingly hostile atmosphere that lack of
funding provides, MathNED has initiated the formation of
Mathematics Community of Ghana (MACOG) which is a
student-led association to organize students all over
the country and motivate them to enjoy the study of
mathematics and see its relevance to everyday life
activities. MACOG organized their first activity by
camping students from all over the country at the Akuafo
Hall of the University of Ghana from 17th to 20th July
2008. Many prominent mathematicians addressed the
students and took them through several activities. No
help came to the students although they cried for help.
Ghana Mathematics Society (GMS) has also been
formed to revamp mathematics education in Ghana. It was
launched on the 27th of September 2007 at GNAT Hall by
the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Sports,
Mrs. Angelina Baiden-Amissah. Membership is open to all
those who believe in the application of the principles
and methods of mathematics to develop Ghana. Mathematics
lecturers in the universities, polytechnics, teacher
training colleges, and all those who use significant
mathematics in their careers are particularly invited to
become members. Pre-tertiary mathematics teachers are
encouraged to become members. Its primary purpose is to
unite all teachers of mathematics (at all levels) in the
country to adopt a holistic approach to revamping
mathematics education in Ghana. To organize its first
national congress in April 2008, it cried for help but
did not get any.
Efforts were also made to send
students to participate in the annual Pan African
Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) organized by the African
Mathematics Union (AMU). Students who went for the first
time last year had to food all the bills by themselves.
This year, no student is representing Ghana because no
help has come to the many who expressed interest to
participate in PAMO. Ghana’s participation in Trends in
Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 2003 and 2007
had been abysmal because no proper help was provided.
For how long will this situation of not providing help
for mathematics continue?
I hope the authorities
are aware of the seemingly poor state of mathematics
education in the country and the trauma experienced by
many students who study mathematics. The principles and
methods of mathematics are either not understood by many
or they are not applied consciously (meaningfully) to
our national developmental efforts. It is time to do
something eclectic and on a larger scale to involve many
more students and teachers. I am aware of the STME
program under JICA but that is limited in scope and
coverage. We need a broader-based national program that
will impact positively on a larger population of
Ghanaian students who must see the use of mathematics in
their daily lives as routine and commonplace. We invite
the GES, MOESS and corporate Ghana to come to the rescue
of mathematics education in Ghana. |