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Teach Mathematics in Nigerian Languages, Use Local Examples to Explain its Concepts to Demystify it - FUTA Don

A Professor of Mathematics has enumerated strategies that can be used to enhance the study of mathematics among students at all levels of the country’s education system. He said considering the importance of mathematics to the study of any course and practice of any profession, it is expedient to put structures in place that will enable learners to easily assimilate mathematical concepts. Professor Joseph Kayode gave the advice while delivering the 141st Inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure on Tuesday 21st of December 2021.  Professor Kayode said efforts must be made by handlers of mathematics from primary to tertiary levels of education to remove the induced phobia towards mathematics by making the subject friendly to learners. He added that teachers must bring the contents of the subject to the level of the learners by majorly using local materials, relating examples to the day-to-day life experiences of teachers and learners.

He also proposed that mathematics should be taught in local languages and dialects. This proposal he said should be introduced in the curriculum for teaching mathematics to pupils at the primary level for a better understanding of basic concepts upon which mathematics is built and developed. This he said will be supported by the production of textbooks in local languages at the developmental stage of the learners.  He said number systems are used for counting by different people groups of the world for different purposes in the day-day transactions such as trade, agriculture, commerce, industries, agriculture, transportation business, education, science, fashion, technology and architecture. He said teaching the subject in the local languages and exemplifying its concepts with local materials and everyday examples that learners can relate with will make early learners to easily internalize the subject and have little or no phobia for it. He said to discourage the importation of foreign teaching and laboratory materials, the government should also provide opportunities for local manufacturing of teaching materials and establishment of mathematics Laboratories in schools.

The don urged governments at Federal, state and local levels as well as private individuals to make concerted and focused efforts at improving funding of mathematical projects and research at all levels of mathematics education in Nigeria. At the same time, he said the popularization of mathematical Sciences in Nigeria should be a national project. He said popularization of mathematics is an attempt to reach out to wider audiences from all strata of society to provide a mathematical experience rather than pedantic transfer of knowledge. According to him in doing this, variety of media and strategies need to be adopted, such as films, television programmes, mathematics festivals, creation of a network of discussion groups clubs and societies. 

Kayode a one-time Deputy Vice Chancellor, Clifford University, Owerrinta, Abia State said operators of educational institutions in the country should ensure employment of only qualified and competent mathematics teachers to teach mathematics at all levels of education. He said there should be regular training, retraining and remedial programmes for mathematics teachers to enhance their competence and relevance in modern pedagogy and handling of state-of-the-art teaching facilities. He however noted that to be able to attract and retain qualified, competent and experienced mathematics teachers, there is need to provide robust and attractive remuneration packages in form of allowances and incentives.

The lecturer said everyone in particular and the society in general, should be made to see mathematics as a way of life and the language of living. There should be, according to him, a massive public enlightenment campaign by the mathematical professional bodies through the print, electronic and social media platforms to allay the fears students and parents’ exhibit towards mathematics.

In his capacity as Chairman of the event, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, said the lecture was cerebral and lauded its adept delivery. He described Kayode as an erudite scholar who has demonstrated academic leadership in the university community and has contributed immensely to the development of body of knowledge in his area of his specialization.