By Jacinta Nwachukwu
No fewer than 30 participants have benefited from the scientific programme on `Algebra Colloquium’ a branch of pure mathematics, organised by the National Mathematical Centre (NMC).
Prof. Peter Onumanyi, Coordinator, Mathematics Programme of NMC, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that the centre decided to focus on the course to rekindle students’ interest in the subject.
Onumanyi, who is also a Deputy Director in the Centre, said that the three-day research programme which commenced on July 1, was targeted at lecturers, researchers and other scientists in tertiary institutions across the country.
“The programme is called research algebra curricula; the objective is to bring back learning and teaching of algebra in our tertiary institutions.
“Algebra is in the area of pure mathematics which is fading from our schools.
“Even in the universities, we do not have experts that are being trained to replace the retired ones.
“We feel concerned, because if we do not avert the situation, time will come when we will have no subject on pure mathematics in the whole of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
“It has happened in one branch of mathematics; nobody has a PhD in Numbers Theory today, we do not want that to happen in algebra which is very central to mathematics,’’ he said.
According to him, the 30 participants include students drawn from various tertiary institutions across the country, as well as three professors in the course.
He said that with the interactive exercise, the centre was hopeful of good replacements on the subject in tertiary institutions in the future.
“And that is why we are grooming these people for the future.’’
Similarly, Prof. Solarin Adewale, a former Director of NMC, said that the programme aimed to bridge the gap between the older and younger generation and make learning easier.
“You find that there is algebra in everything, like at the school level, we find that when students are solving problems, they have to resolve to one kind of equation or the other.
“And the more we develop our knowledge at this level, the better it is for those at the lower level.
“So we are encouraging people who have interest in teaching mathematics to know the subject.
“And they can also start by getting the students to be interested in a much simpler way,’’ Adewale said.