Mathematics could be called the sum of life. A plus here, a minus there. Some things augmenting manifold when multiplication takes over, some reducing to irreducible limits, as in the calamity of division. In India it is often referred to as a ‘killer’ subject in schools, as R. Ramanujam says in his research paper, Mathematics Education in India – An Overview. He goes on to say that studies showed that a large number of children were failing or dropping out before completing elementary school because they could not cope with the demands of the curriculum.
It is not uncommon elsewhere in the world either, the dread that Mathematics evokes. The famous mathematician, Shakuntala Devi, India’s own ‘math evangelist’ as she was called, said, “I was performing at a New Jersey high school and I asked a class of 2000 students, ‘How many of you love Mathematics?’ Only one hand went up. And that was the hand of the Maths teacher.”
But without Mathematics there can be no life and living as we know it. For children, it is an integral part of the narrative of growing up. It relates to things they do in the real world every day. It helps them count change at the vegetable shop or add up numbers on their report card; it helps them read time from the dial of a clock or keep track of cricket scores. It helps them with what has been earned and what has been lost.
Mathematics is all about finding correct solutions to problems. Accuracy is key. It cannot be one more or one less. For, Mathematics is never known to go wrong.
Shakuntala Devi said, “Without Maths, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is Maths. Everything around you is numbers.” Science, technology, engineering, finance, music, art – all that makes the world go around – draw sustenance from it.
Much of it would come to a standstill without its pervasive reach and use. Not in these higher latitudes alone that Mathematics is needed. Its calculations figure in every vocation. Be it in a tailoring unit or carpentry workshop, a bakery, a grocery store or retail establishment, Mathematics is that essential foundation on which the everyday builds. It is the tool for all those innumerable daily transactions. For all the certainties of life.
Image source: Wikipedia
Authored by Lakshmi Mohan for #GKAMathMovemnt