Prof. Promise Mebine Director/Chief Executive, National Mathematical Centre (NMC), says inadequate funding is the bane of mathematics development in the country.
Mebine disclosed this during an on-the-spot inspection of the 2021 National Mathematical Sciences Olympiad Competition held in various centres of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The director, who underscored the importance of mathematics in the development of education in the country, said, given the necessary resources, the centre would be able to train students to compete with their counterparts from any other country.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic also affected the running of activities at the centre.
On why some students have phobia for the subject, the Mebine said it was a matter of how they perceived the subject.
“The phobia of mathematics is just a perception. This is when we talk about fear, (False Expression Appearing Real) That is, something that is not real.
“Some times from the beginning a student has made up his/her mind that this thing is difficult to understand and so on that is where the problem is.”
He, however, said that with the right tools in terms of the teachers and books needed in learning and teaching the subject, it would be simple.
“Mathematics is a compulsory subject in Nigeria, so it is not something we should think is very difficult that they cannot do it, it is just a matter of perception,” he said.
According to him, Olympiad is an annual national competition which cut across both government and privately-owned secondary schools.
“This year’s competition was held simultaneously across the states except for Bayelsa where schools are not in session because of flood.”
Also speaking, FCT Facilitator of the National Mathematical Centre, Mrs Uchechi Nwagbo, said that there were about 20 centres and no fewer than 2, 500 students for the competition across the FCT.
“We are expecting not less than 2, 500 in the FCT. We have put a system in place that when it’s time for Olympiad, some schools will key into it because they know what they are gaining.
“Olympiad instills academic discipline in the students. A child going for Olympiad will prepare him or herself knowing fully well that the Olympiad is not within our Nigerian curriculum and once you are able to scale through in Olympiad, you are good to go in other subjects.
“Students use it as self assessment. When you are having like 30 per cent in Olympiad, other subjects are just work-over,” she added. (NAN)