The Director-General and Chief Executive of National Mathematical Centre, Abuja, Professor Adewale Solarin has called on the Federal government to declare a State of Emergency on mathematics in Nigeria.
Professor Solarin also condemned the shortage of mathematical science teachers at various levels of education system in the country.
He stated this at a press briefing in Abuja, to announce the International Symposium on “current trends in Mathematical Science and applications” organised by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and African Mathematical Union (AMU), holding on 17th May, 2016 in Abuja.
Solarin, said “this dearth of teachers to teach mathematics-related subjects was partly responsible for the phobia and poor performance of students in Mathematics in public examinations”.
He therefore urged the Federal government to declare a state of emergency on Mathematics in Nigeria.
NMC DG who is also the President of African Academy of Sciences, noted with concern that African Mathematical Scientists resident in Africa were gradually becoming endangered species because the number of such scientists has been dwindling over the years in quality.
Solarin said: “to compound matters, many African countries including Nigeria have witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of universities and other tertiary institutions the entire continent with inadequate matching funds.
“Consequently, available mathematical sciences expertise are spread so thin resulting in shortage of staff, facilities and infrastructures as well as serious reduction in the quality of mathematical sciences education and research.
“Before you call somebody a Mathematician at a level we are talking about, that person must have a Ph.D. But if you check in the number of universities we have today, they are very few of such persons”.
He however noted that Africans, including Nigerians have made tremendous contributions to progress in mathematics.
“We have had Nigerians that that are publishing the best journals in the world and if their contributions were not up to the international standard, they won’t have been accepted for publications in such journals,” he said.
The DG explained that symposium provided cost-effective way of training mathematics teachers who are teaching in various institutions across the country.
He disclosed that over 100 Nigerians had participated in the pre-symposium school or workshop, where they were trained extensively for two weeks from May 3 to May 16, 2016.
Solarin, also revealed that the symposium would have about 20 non-Nigerian experts to share knowledge and experiences through interaction with the young mathematical scientists in the country, saying this would further increase interest of many Nigerians in the study of mathematical sciences.
President of African Mathematical Union, Professor Aderemi Kuku, in his remark, said Africans have made great impact in the field of mathematical sciences in the world, adding that the symposium would provide opportunity for African Mathematicians and Scientists to say what they do in their countries.
He noted that even though Africa could boast of well-trained mathematical scientists and about the best education the world could offer in famous universities and institutions abroad, what was lacking is the critical mass needed to teach in the younger generation in the continent.
Kuku, said, “by critical mass, for instance, if you to New York alone, you will be able to count over 1,000 mathematicians with Ph.Ds who are doing excellent work”.