February 14th each year is observed as a day for people
to show love to each other. Others have declared it as a
day to show love to chocolates and eat lots of them. Yet
others have adopted it as the day to show love to
mathematics. Can the three co-exist? Why not? You may
decide to show love to someone by presenting the one
with chocolates after calculating the cost of chocolates
and deciding the different sizes and shapes that you
present to your loved one.
But why use Valentine day to show love to mathematics?
For over one year, MathNED, an NGO promoting the
use of Mathematics for national education and
development has been calling for the declaration of
February 14th each year as National Mathematic Day to be
observed as such by all schools in the country. I thank
the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sports and the
Ghana Education Service for declaring the day as such.
The idea is to get students engaged in showcasing on
that day the connections between real life and
mathematical concepts that the students study.
Notice that mathematics is everyday activity and should
not be limited to a day’s celebration. February 14th is
only an awareness-creation day. A circular sent out by
the new Director-General of Ghana Education Service to
all schools in the country through the regional
directors of education with some hands-on mathematical
activities is only a start of the process to rekindle
interest in mathematics. Students are to work out on
those activities throughout the year while teachers add
on their own activities. In fact, two periods of
mathematics each week should be devoted to practical
mathematics, just as practical physics or chemistry. So,
as students build the models throughout the year, they
exhibit these models on each 14th of February.
We need to make students see the relevance of the
mathematics they study. We need to occupy the minds of
our students with useful activities that impact on them
positively. These days, there are many things competing
for the time and mind of students. Pornography,
occultism, cocaine usage, homosexuality, alcohol,
valentine day celebrations, shit-bombing of classrooms,
and the like, have all crept into the school system and
are taking quality time away from students; time that
they need to study and appreciate the beauty of school
subjects and how these subjects contribute to the
general knowledge needed for the development of dear
Conscious efforts must be made to initiate programs that
can be used to win back the time and minds of students.
These programs must be interesting, intellectually
challenging, stretching students to bring out creative
solutions to problems, and must attract some extrinsic
rewards. MathNED is making a small contribution
in that direction by asking students to construct, as an
example, a model showcasing the eclipse of the sun by
the moon, as occurred recently, or a large model of the
globe, using the cane, and be able to illustrate and
show different time zones, different seasons, and the
I thank the Minister of Education, the Director-General
of GES, and all those who are lending their support to
this agenda of revamping mathematics education in Ghana.
This is just the beginning. A lot of work needs to be
done. For example, there is the need to organize
workshops for mathematics teachers nationwide to help
them become part of the solution to the mathematics
phobia that students experience in the country.
Mathematics Road Show, where MathNED personnel
visit schools nationwide to whip up interest through
talks and activities to students, must continue.
Corporate Ghana should support these initiatives so that
we shall have a different story to tell during Ghana@100
celebrations. Our proposals are with you. Thanks!