Don calls for intervention in teaching, learning of mathematics

• UNILAG to honour Adeboye

FOR the country to experience what he described as “true mathematical advancement,” professor of mathematics, Samuel Okoya, is calling on wealthy individuals and corporate organisations to partner higher institutions in support of teaching and learning of the subject.

 Okoya, who is of the Department of Mathematics, University of Lagos (UNILAG), made the call while presenting the first yearly lecture of Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye Professorial Chair, which was titled, “Relevance of Mathematics to Everyday Living.” 

  Okoya who espoused on the applications of mathematics to real life problems in his 22-page lecture, maintained that mathematics encompasses everything the human mind can think of, and was therefore very relevant in everyday living.

   Consequent upon this realisation, he said for the country to tap from the immense benefits inherent in mathematics and applied mathematics, there was the compelling need for strong financial commitment from well meaning Nigerians to institutions and students in that field.

  “It is imperative in order for the country to experience true mathematical advancement. So, wealthy individuals and corporate organisations should donate funds, institute professorial chairs and offer scholarships to students to cushion the effect of shortage of funds in order to pursue mathematics in our institutions,” the university teacher stated.

   He continued, “It has been established that neglect of the correct application of the concept of angle of depression and even any aspect of mathematics has weighty social and emotional consequences. Therefore, a clear style and refreshing approach to mathematical contents should be made relevant to practical day-to-day events familiar to everyone.

    “There is also the need to make mathematics teachers/lecturers at all levels happy since happiness increases productivity and efficiency. Recall the slogan ‘house to let, not for teachers.’ Today every teacher/lecturer at the entry point dreams of having his own shelter in place at the earliest opportunity. 

  Going down memory lane, he recalled that in the 1970s, expatriates from Britain, America, Canada and India were involved in the teaching of the subject then because the Nigerian currency was stronger than the British pound, and this was at a time when there were only 14 federal universities in Nigeria.”

  But, “A lot has changed since between 1970s and 2014, particularly due to the massive expansion of the Nigerian universities system and the increase in the number of departments of mathematics. Now there are about 131 universities in the country, made up of federal, state and lately private. 

  “It is imperative to note that indigenous lecturers of mathematics took over from the expatriates as more universities were established, and only a handful of lecturers from the middle East/Far East are still in the northern part of Nigeria. This is due to the fact that major foreign currencies like British pound and US dollars are now stronger than the Nigerian naira. Another issue in the sector is also a growing loss of confidence, all these have resulted to brain drain in our educational sector,” he stated. 

  Citing a quote from Herbert Wilf, Okoya concluded, “Our quality of education will improve when we have more teachers who are knowledgeable in their subjects and who enjoy doing it and talking about it.”

  Earlier, vice chancellor of the institution, Prof Rahamon Adisa Bello, while commending Adeboye, who provided the N50m fund for the professorial chair for his home-coming, stated that the “E.A. Adeboye Professorial Chair” was currently the only viable endowed chair in the institution. “Others are either not funded or moribund”.

  He said the gesture has helped the institution greatly through the promotion of academic excellence and research. He called on well meaning Nigerians and other philanthropists to help institute chairs and education endowments so as to promote teaching and learning generally in the Nigerian educational system.

  He further announced to the gathering that the senate has approved the award of doctor of science (honoris causa) to Pastor Adeboye, for being part of the institution and his immense contributions to human life. The institution would announce the date that the honour would be bestowed on him.

   In his response, Adeboye commended the school’s management for the honour saying, “While I had humbly rejected offer from other universities, I will gladly accept that of UNILAG.

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