Teachers Look at Fun Side of Mathematics

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Forty selected teachers from around the country this week attended a two-day intensive mathematics workshop under the auspices of the Ministry of Education as part of a seven-day exhibition, to be officially opened this morning by the ministry’s permanent secretary. “Mathematics is perceived as boring, difficult and is a very unpopular subject in Namibian schools,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Education. A very important factor that is many times overlooked is the centrality of mathematics and the power it has to shape life by the support system it gives to objects and processes that are part of daily life. “If we think about phones, credit cards, CD’s, the driving of a car and aeroplanes for instance, we often do not consider the importance of mathematics as a tool contributing to the success of these technologies. Taking science to the people has become the most successful attempt to avail those schools that lack facilities an opportunity to see what the practical side of mathematics entails,” the statement said. The workshop for teachers, which ends today, was held to help popularise and to help find the ‘fun’ side of mathematics and science as subjects. “For this purpose, UNESCO is holding a mathematics exhibition titled ‘Experiencing Mathematics’, to Namibia for three months. It’s an exhibition, which is taken around different countries to expose young people to hands-on mathematics in a way to do away with the misconceptions that exist about the subject.” The Directorate Research, Science and Technology and the Mathematics and Science Coordination unit within the Ministry of Education are spearheading the mathematics project currently on. The exhibition will start a week-long run next week for schools in the capital after which time it will be taken to fifteen towns in all other regions.