Speaking at a national conference on ‘Applications of mathematics and statistics’ organised by Department of Mathematics and Statistics of Yuvaraja’s College here, he said mathematics education is mainly concerned with teaching-learning of mathematics.
For effective and meaningful teaching learning of mathematics, mathematics education has to seriously deal with constructive invention, motivating intuition, applications and aesthetics within the framework of ‘deductive form of mathematics’. There is a poor response to mathematics education at higher education level. Mathematics education at school level has no answer.
Dr Ravindra said the Education Commission (Kothari 1964-66) recommended mathematics as a compulsory subject for all school students. Thus it enjoys unique status in a school curriculum.
The National Policy on Education-1986 also emphasised that mathematics should be visualised as a vehicle to train a child to think, reason, analyse and articulate logically, apart from being a specific subject it should be treated as concomitant to any subject involving analysis and reasoning. And yet many school students find difficulty with learning of mathematics and fail in that subject.
He pointed out that there is a huge gap between prescription and practice of a mathematics curriculum.
Most of the time of the classroom of mathematics is preoccupied with routine teaching and not much time is devoted to learning of mathematics. Hardly a student asks questions in a mathematics classroom. The teacher training colleges in India prepare the mathematics teachers at secondary level and paradoxically most of the teacher training colleges do not have teacher educators with mathematics as a subject at their degree level or experience of teaching at school level. Many of the mathematics teachers at secondary level do not understand mathematics, as it evident from the fact that more than 90 per cent in in-service programmes conducted for teachers at RIE Bhopal and Mysore during 1998-2000 did not answer correctly.
Dr Ravindra said one of the disturbing aspects of mathematics education in India and also the rest of the world is that of the lack of mathematical sophistication in the education provided to non-mathematicians. Most of the mathematics taught to non-mathematicians centres around the development of the previous century.
Earlier, Prof P S Nayak, registrar, University of Mysore released a souvenir brought out on the occasion. Dr C B Ramachandra, principal, Yuvaraja’s College, presided.