Does one need to be a genius to do maths? What are the chances that parents are discouraging children from excelling maths from a much younger age?
Experts are warning that the manner in which mathematics is portrayed to a child determines their ability to excel in the subject later on.
The Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and technology at the African Union, Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga said mathematics should be demystified through progressive trainings that present it as a universal language; a language that can be learnt from the earliest age and by everybody – not just by a few talented people.
“This is necessary if we are to increase the numbers of children and youth excelling in science and maths. It will provide a rich pipeline for researchers and career scientists in order to harness Africa’s demographic dividend for achieving a prosperous Africa,” said Ikounga.
He further explained that to ensure that science solves Africa’s challenges, it was imperative that the quality of education and training be improved through a paradigm shift that involves student centered approaches.
He also said linkages between the education and productive sectors would improve competences and skills for entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.
Ikounga made the remarks recently during a gathering of young African scientists at the Next Einstein Forum Dakar, Senegal.
Named after German’s famous physicist Albert Einstein, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is a global meet intended to strengthen the continent’s position on the scientific stage.
Dr Beatrice Njenga, Head of Education Division at the African Union, said girls and women needed to be given opportunities beyond their stereotypical careers. She stressed that while maths and sciences were important for research and scientific fields, technology literacy was crucial in today’s world.
“Otherwise, when the hand-held hoe is abolished, African women may be unable to utilize the higher level technologies that will be available!” Njenga said.
The NEF President Dr. Thierry Zoumahoun quipped that the next Einstein would be a young woman from Africa, in reference to the need to ensure that women are equally provided with opportunities to excel in the sciences.
This post was published on the New Vision website.