Decline Trends in Mathematical Aptitude Among students of Manipur
By Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh
Once one of my Mathematics teacher asked me, do you know CHARI METHODS (four methods) in Mathematics? I got confused the question of my teacher. I said, no sir. To my astonished, he smiled at me and said, it is very simple, it’s nothing but the four basic methods of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division. He further said, if you know these four methods well, then your Mathematics study is over. I was very delighted at that because I had a great fear psychosis in Mathematics as many people talked a lot about the hardship and difficulty of learning Mathematics. Because of this fear psychosis induced during my childhood days, I thought, I better to skip Mathematics if possible. But from the moment that my teacher talked about four basic methods of Mathematics, my burden in Mathematics was removed and ultimately I came to know ,Mathematics is very easy and most beautiful subject ,if practice it regularly. Feeling of fear psychosis in Mathematics still prevails among our students. This may be due to memorizing way of learning Mathematics, I supposed. I came to know this symptoms when I became a mathematics teacher. Whenever I solved a little lengthy and a bid complicated problem in the class, the most often asked question by the students is: Sir will this type of question asked in the examination and how much mark it carries? From their questions, I thought, our students were not taught to inculcate the concept of Mathematics rather they were taught in memorizing way of teaching-learning mode, just to get marks in their classes in primary level. This could be one of the reason for posing this type of question when they come up to higher classes As per the result of HSLC Examination of BOSEM and Class X result of the students from the Schools under CBSE in Manipur, majority of our students outshine in Mathematics subject scoring 80% and more than it. But in the result of HSSLC of COHSEM and those students passed from CBSE Schools in Manipur, pass percentage in Mathematics is very pathetic. My question is –why and how it happens? Is Mathematics subject a nightmare among our students? Is it due to poor teaching methods or technique in schools? Or lack of experienced and qualified teachers in our Schools? This made me many sleepless night (being a Mathematics teacher).I thought and presumed many theories & reasons for this. Ultimately I found a study report conducted by someone. According to this report the reason for declining the aptitude in Mathematics among our students after class X may be due to the following factors (Subject to verification and authenticity of the report).
(i) Mathematics syllabus in class XI is little voluminous in comparison with class X which cause them a little panic.
(ii) Poor Mathematical concepts in lower classes as teaching- learning process was memorizing mode.
(iii) Negligence by majority of the students in Class XI, as Class XI examination is a promotion examination.
(iv) Sudden change of attitude and behavior of the students when they switch over from High School level to higher secondary level during critical period of teenage /adolescence.
(v) Parents desire to make their children to be a Doctor, as employability and status is good as compare to other courses in Manipur therefore they pay more importance to medical oriented subjects than mathematics.
As parents want their children (may not be for the children) to be a Doctor, many of the students started paying more attention in the PCB neglecting Mathematics. Since they didn’t study or learn Mathematics properly in class XI, they find it very difficult in Class XII, because to understand Mathematics in Class XII they need clear concepts of Class XI Mathematics syllabus like Trigonometry, Permutation, combination, Binomial theorem, 2-D geometry and many others. Without having clear concepts of these portions in Mathematics, it will not be possible for them to know Calculus in Class XII, which is the major portion in Class XII. Because of this, many opt Mathematics as 4th subject, since marks for the 4th subject is not counted in overall percentage calculation, even if it is failed there is no problem. This could be one of the major reason of declining the pass percentage in Mathematics in Class XII result. Since they are very week in Mathematics concepts, which in turn make them to learn Physics and Chemistry in memorizing approach, because without Mathematics they will find it very difficult to understand Physics and Chemistry well. This is again one week turning point in our Education system, if Im not mistaken. Since many are poor in mathematics resulting poor understanding in Physics and Chemistry (which in fact are major parts in NEET exam for undergoing medical profession) that unable many who appeared NEET to qualify it.
As majority of our students either failed or scored poor marks in Mathematics in Class XII examination, few students opts Mathematics in their graduation (of course most of the students who scored good marks in PCM opted Engineering as their career).If this is the scenario, what could be the position of Mathematics in postgraduates and other Mathematics related higher studies in Manipur context? ALBERT EINSTEIN once said “A Society without Mathematics is a Stupid Society”. If it’s true what will be the fate of our future? Now, it’s high time to give more stress to cultivate the Mathematical aptitude among our children for a better and bright Manipur. In this line of action MASTEC (Manipur Science & Technology Council) is taking up a beautiful annual calendar program which is catalyzed and supported by NCSTC, Dept. Of Science & Technology, Government of India to popularize Mathematics as “NATIONAL MATHEMATICS DAY “on 22nd of December every year, which is the birth day of the great mathematician SRINIVASA RAMANUJAN. During this celebration various activities like competition of Mathematics Model development, Mathematics Quiz, Mathematics competition for class II to VIII were held. In spite of tireless effort & initiatives taken up by MASTEC the number of students turn up and number of schools participating the events is still in a deplorable state. Here again a big question arises, why? This shows, something is missing somewhere in cultivating or motivating Mathematical aptitude in Manipur. So scholars and intellectuals in this field need to put serious effort before it’s too late.
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