Mathematicians from across the globe put their heads together at a technical session on the second day of the International Congress of Mathematicians here and advocated that teachers of the subject at different levels be taught how to make it interesting.

A panel discussion on ‘Mathematics education and popularisation of Mathematics' had the panel speakers and those from the audience dwelling on how it could be simplified for school students, and ensure continuity for those who interested in pursuing mathematics at higher levels.

Reduce the gap

Another aspect highlighted was need to reduce the gap in teaching the subject at the university level.

A constraint expressed was that mathematics teachers at the school and college levels did not have much by way of resources like relevant text books to motivate students to take the subject with more enthusiasm.

Chairing the session, W.T. Gowers of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom said what was concrete in school mathematics was abstract when it came at the university-level.

Teachers surely could teach better when it came to school students.

Lack of material

R. Ramanujam from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai said it was a pity that the teachers at school level did not have too many textbooks and other supportive material so that they could really understand the methodology of teaching a subject that was considered dry by many across the world.

“What little material they had until very recently is simply not enough. And many teachers do not have access to the internet for them to simply log and read on,” he said.

In Russia

An interesting fact is that in Russia, mathematicians and teachers were held in very high esteem.

Mr. Ivan Yashchenko of the Moscow Center For Continuous Math Education said, “The reason is that traditionally, mathematics has been in popular use in Russia. At regular intervals, one sees a well-known mathematician or researcher going to schools and colleges to teach the subject.”