Mathematician touring 10 cities to make the subject easy
Giving suggestions as to how the subject of mathematics, perceived as tough, can be made fun for students, a retired professor from Punjab is on a 10-city tour of India
After discussing the issue with students and teachers in various universities and institutes of Kanpur and Bhopal, 70-year-old Madanlal Baldevraj Ghai is now in the Kolkata leg of his 50-day tour.
"Due to faulty teaching methodologies and incorrect approach of students, mathematics has now become one of the toughest subjects. Wherever I go, I explain to people on how to make the subject simpler to comprehend," Ghai told PTI.
Known as the basis of all sciences, maths is regarded as one of the toughest by students as it requires complex calculations. The mathematician, who also runs a local NGO and has authored spiritual books, embarked on June 1 for his noble mission to make the important subject simpler, easier and practical for students.
Other cities on his map are Visakhapatnam, Raipur, Surat, Jaipur, Delhi, Noida and Kurukshetra. In Kolkata, Ghai, who is now pursuing a PhD in the subject from Punjabi University in Patiala, has shortlisted some schools and the mathematics department of the University of Calcutta where he will give a presentation.
Having dedicated his entire life to the development of mathematics, he has taught for 41 years before retiring as the head of mathematics department in P M N College at Patiala.
Ghai had toured the country to spread awareness about the importance of Vedic mathematics. The central government has declared 2012 as National Mathematical Year as a mark of tribute to the maths genius Srinivasa Ramanujan on his 125th birth anniversary celebrations.
To involve and engage students actively with the subject, he suggests academicians that practical mathematics should be included in the curriculum. "Other subjects like physics and chemistry has practical section as well, but not mathematics. By having math laboratories, students would be able to visualise the use of the complex calculations they make on paper," he says.
Ghai feels that geometry, which is the base of mathematics, has been ignored largely by teachers. "Similarly the basic of maths has also been ignored at the primary school level. Syllabi should be re-framed to focus on practical aspects of maths. At least 25 per cent of the syllabus should be research-oriented so that students understand the application of the subject in real life cases," he suggests.
During his journey, he is also spreading awareness on the rich legacy which some famous Indians like Aryabhata, Ramanujan and P C Mahalanobis have left in the world of mathematics.