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Eleven years of National Mathematics Day celebrations

Author: Prof. S. E. Anku
How maths is taught determines how students like the subject
How maths is taught determines how students like the subject

Since its inception in 2007, the National Mathematics Day has been celebrated each year to create awareness of the importance and use of mathematics in our everyday lives.

It started on a small scale with the support of the then Minister of Education, Paapa Owusu Ankomah, to become a nationwide awareness-creation celebration involving students, teachers and stakeholders coming together to help revamp the study of Mathematics across the nation.

Several activities are organised in schools across the country.

These include what we call mathematics on wheels, where we tour all regional capitals to engage in seminars and radio call-in talks.

Also, we visit many of the colleges of education (Akatsi, St Teresa, Tamale and Bagabaga) to help the students and staff demystify Mathematics by engaging them in practical Mathematics and use of technology to teach and study the subject.

We visit schools to talk to them on how to study Mathematics effectively and pass examinations.

Other schools have participated in symposia, clean-up campaigns and quizzes. Still, some schools engage in outdoor activities and many other things.

We do all of these things to remove the phobia students and teachers have for Mathematics and to highlight our principles that:

1) everything we do contains some Mathematics

2) everybody can do Mathematics, and that

3) the principles and methods of Mathematics ensure the efficiency of everything that we do.

As we always do, we have written to the minister of Education, the Director General of the Ghana Education Service and all the 10 regional directors of education to facilitate the celebration of the day in all schools, in whatever small way. The national celebration for this year will be held at the Regent University College in Accra.

Last year’s celebration was at the Dominion University College, also in Accra, but next year’s celebration is slated for St Teresa College of Education, Hohoe.

Schools in and around Accra may send some students and teachers to participate in the national day celebrations at the Regent University College while the rest remain on campus to engage in their own local activities.

But why do we use Valentine Day to show love to Mathematics?

The Ghana Mathematics Society (GMS) has been celebrating February 14 as National Mathematics Day and it is to be observed as such by all schools in the country.

The idea is to get students engaged in showcasing on that day the connections between mathematical concepts and real life.

Mathematics is an everyday activity and should not be limited to a day’s celebration.

National Mathematics Day is only an awareness-creation day. Students can engage in outdoor or indoor practical Mathematics throughout the year, just as practical Physics or Chemistry.

Activities from the practical Mathematics lessons can then be exhibited by the students on each February 14.

These days, there are many things competing for the time and mind of students.

Social media addiction, pornography, occultism, cocaine usage, gayism, lesbianism, alcohol usage, Valentine Day celebrations (experimenting with the use of condoms) and the like have all crept into the school system and are taking quality time away from students; time that they need to study and appreciate the beauty of school subjects and how these subjects contribute to the general knowledge needed for the development of our dear nation Ghana.

Too many students are failing in Mathematics examinations, and these failures are truncating their progress in education and are sending a lot of our youth onto the streets and frustrating their lives.

Conscious efforts must be made to initiate programmes that can be used to win back the time and minds of students.

These programmes must be interesting, intellectually challenging, stretch students to bring out creative solutions to problems and must attract some extrinsic rewards.

The National Mathematics Day is a conscious effort to revive interest in Mathematics and revamp Mathematics education in Ghana to promote national education and development.

Impact

This year, the National Mathematics Day, on the theme: “Mathematics for National Education and Development.”

The Mathematics Student Union members of the University of Ghana, University of Cape Coast and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology will engage in inter-university quiz competition and the best is going to receive an award.

Another important impact that the GMS and the Meagasa Mathematics Academy want to bring to help solve the problem of understanding Mathematics in the country is the introduction of the Meagasa Professional Institute of Mathematics Education (M-PRIME) under the direct auspices of Professor Sitsofe Enyonam Anku.

The aim of the programme is to provide a professional development programme in teaching Mathematics to all categories of teachers of various backgrounds in order to upgrade themselves and raise their competence in teaching Mathematics both in private and public sector schools.

The duration for the programme will be two years during each vacation, starting this year from April, August and December.

The programme is in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast.

From March 7 to March 10, this year, we are organising a congress / conference on the theme: Leadership functions of the Mathematics teacher to promote the use of Mathematics for national education and development.”

Meet Uncle Ebo Whyte as the resource person with his intelligent insights into leadership.

We expect collaboration from all stakeholders to make it a success.

There is so much to do to revamp Mathematics education in Ghana.

Visit us at Ghana Mathematics Society/Facebook or www.ghanamathematicssociety-gms.org to follow our activities and become part of us.

Love Ghana, Love Mathematics