GUWAHATI, Jan 2 � The state of Mathematics education in the schools of Assam is worrying, according to academics and teachers, who believe that without urgent interventions, majority of students will find it extremely hard to excel in Mathematics and Science in their higher education.
Despite the State Government�s repeated claims about an improving education scene, teaching of Mathematics has emerged as a matter of concern. A large number of students do poorly in the subject every year, the bigger section being girl students.
No less disturbing is the fact that scores of students from rural areas have failed to secure good marks in Mathematics tests. Those familiar with the situation point out that on the basis of performance, the gap between urban and rural students has widened in recent years.
Government schools in rural areas are among the worst hit, where students do not have properly trained teachers. A majority of those high and higher secondary schools do not have access to modern teaching aids or models, which put those in a disadvantageour position.
Former head of Mathematics department, Cotton College, Dr Tarakeshwar Choudhury believes that with employment opportunities in technical areas expanding at a rapid rate, it is imperative that students have better knowledge of the subject. �Mathematics is essential not just in engineering and technology, but in a host of other subjects such as Bio-Mathematics and Bio-Informatics, which are heavily dependent on mathematical applications�, he remarked.
He said problems in Mathematics education start at the primary school level, when students become acquainted with the basics of the subject. A large number of teachers at this stage do not have adequate training or infrastructure support to present the subject in a manner that students would find fascinating.
Problems multiply for learners in High Schools where Mathematics and Science teachers are a minority. In a number of schools, BSc teachers do exist, but many of those did not have Mathematics as a subject during graduation. Coupled with this, absence of modern teaching aids creates serious hurdles for students in seventh and eighth standards, during which they have to build up vital conceptual knowledge.