Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, on Friday, pledged his government’s commitment to enhancing the teaching and learning of mathematics in schools in the state.
Umahi made the pledge at the closing ceremony of the National Mathematical Centre /Sustainable Development Goals (NMC/SDGs) two-week training workshop on mental arithmetic for students in basic secondary schools.
Students from 12 secondary schools in the state participated in the training.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi-Igwe, said that the state would support any effort geared towards enhancing the teaching and learning of the mathematical science.
He described knowledge of mathematics as fundamental to understanding other sciences and commended the organisers of the training programme for their foresight.
Umahi also applauded the teachers and students who participated in the two-week event for their courage and perseverance throughout the period.
“The state government will do everything within its powers to ensure that the teaching and learning of mathematics is given the necessary boost.
“We shall ensure that we give mathematics teachers regular training and incentives to boost their morale as well as provide mathematics laboratories in our secondary schools to enhance the teaching of the subject.
“Understanding of mathematics is fundamental and very essential for the understanding of other sciences, including engineering and technology.
“We are going to build on the gains of the training workshop as we are going to step down the training to all secondary schools in the 13 local government areas of the state,’’ the governor said.
He explained that his government was giving priority to the education sector in view of its strategic importance in the socio-economic and political development of the state.
The governor charged the students to be disciplined and committed to their studies, assuring of government’s commitment to providing excellent teaching and learning environment.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. John Eke, said that promotion of the use of Abacus in solving mathematical problems would develop the mental capacity of the students.
He said that the Abacus method could be used to solve any type of mathematics and mathematical science with speed and precision.
Eke said that the method had demystified and simplified the teaching and learning of mathematics as a subject.
“Students shy away from learning mathematics because of the abstract method employed in the teaching of the subject.
“The Abacus method is practical, simple, participatory and very easy to understand.
“We are going to boost interest of our pupils and students in mathematics by replicating the training in all schools in the state and ensure that we provide the necessary facilities needed to drive the initiative,” Eke said.
The commissioner commended the state government for its support and partnership with the NMC/SDGs to ensure that the workshop turned out a success.
He added that government would soon come up with a policy that would make passing of English and Mathematics subjects requisite requirements for promotion from SS 2 to SS 3 in both public and private secondary schools in the state.
Meanwhile, the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NMC, Prof. Stephen Onah, described the workshop as a significant milestone in the history of mathematics education development in Ebonyi.
According to him, the participants have been impacted with adequate knowledge capable of changing the story of mathematics and mathematical science in their lives.
He said that the teachers had also received training on different innovations, techniques and strategies in the teaching of mathematics.
The NMC director appealed to the state government to sustain the objective of the training workshop by replicating it in schools.
“It is interesting to know that Abacus Mental Arithmetic (AMA) enables a child to develop both right and left brains by adopting both hands in manipulating the Abacus.
“Through the lessons learnt, the children will be able to build up self-confidence and concentration during examinations and any form of academic competition.
“The children will also become self-motivated and fall in love with their studies; instead of being sluggish and of low esteem or negligent, they will be more attentive and will be absorbed in their studies, ” Onah said.
Some of the participants at training workshop including Miss Chika Onwe, Kelechi Elom and Philip Okoro, described the programme as an eye opener.
They said that the training had changed their perception of mathematics and mathematical science and described the subject as interesting and easy to understand using the Abacus.
“The training was a welcome development and an eye opener which has redefined our perception of mathematics and gave us a new thinking and direction to understanding the subject.
“We thank the government of Ebonyi and the NMC/SDGs for providing us with the platform and the rare opportunity,’’ they said.