Accra, Feb. 16, GNA-Professor Christopher Adjei Okpoti, former Dean, School of Business, University of Education, Winneba, has underscored the need for policy makers to undergo orientation courses in Mathematics and Statistics.
He said that way, they would be able to do effective analysis and make informed decisions on policies and their implementation.
Prof. Okpoti said the training would also help fight corruption because, “ Maths is not subjective. Two is two. You can’t lie with data.”
The Associate Professor, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency ahead of the national celebration of the Mathematics Day, scheduled for Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
The national celebration was fixed on February 14, to coincide with the national Chocolate Day, to engage pupils and students in Mathematics but rescheduled this year, because February 14, was a weekend.
Internationally, the Day is celebrated on March 14, annually.
Prof. Okpoti said the contributions of Mathematics and Statistics were backed by data and that there could not be any meaningful socioeconomic development without the application of the two courses.
“It is time to make good use of Maths at the highest level. It is wrong to ignore data in national development.
“ In fact in some countries, you need some basics in Mathematics to be a Minister of Finance and this is where we should be heading towards because everything you do is about figures,” he said.
Prof. Okpoti said some government officials made arbitrary decisions due to their lack of appreciation of data and said that must stop to end the poverty cycle.
He said poor teaching methods remained the reason many students were disinterested in Mathematics and urged teachers to be creative and practical with the subject to make it inviting.
Prof. Okpoti said another major issue was the teaching of Mathematics by teachers who were not trained as Mathematics teachers, saying, “It is not only about teaching. It is so much about imparting….”
The National Celebration
The Ghana Education Service (GES) has directed all regional and district Directors of Education to observe February 17, this year, as National Mathematics Day in all first and second cycle schools across the country.
The Service reminded the Directors of Education that the day be earmarked for only Mathematics activities in schools throughout the country.
Mrs Patty E. Assan, the Director of Schools and Instructions of GES, in a letter dated February 8, 2021, to all Regional Directors of Education, indicated that a national virtual durbar with stakeholders would be organised at the Science Education Unit in Accra, alongside the regional and district school activities.
The letter said the Day had been adopted by GES for students to show love for Mathematics to help break the myth surrounding the subject, seen as difficult for many students.
The Ghana News Agency gathered that there was an improvement in the subject last year, where performance inched up from 65.31 per cent in 2019 to 65.71 per cent in 2020.
The International Day of Mathematics (IDM) is a worldwide celebration on March 14, every year, with countries invited to participate through activities for both students and the public in schools, museums, libraries and other spaces.
The international theme for this year’s celebration is, “Mathematics for a better world.”
A message on the IDM website said, “as the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, mathematics provides its models and tools to help us understand, monitor, and control the spread of the virus.”
It said the subject also helped to create weather forecasts and prompt the world to prepare for natural disasters.
“Mathematics is central to the efficient organization of societies for the benefit of all citizens. It optimizes transportation and communication networks and enables smart planning and management of health, economic, and social systems. Science and mathematics have a crucial role in steering decisions to promote peace and social justice.“
It said as a common language to the planet, Mathematics was an essential part of humankind’s cultural heritage and that it presented in arts, music, and games, for human enjoyment and well-being.