Professor Adefemi SunMonu, Chairman of Mathematics and Computer Science Department at York College, USA and Crawford University, Nigeria, has advocated the establishment of Mathematics Learning Centres (MLCs) in tertiary institutions to address the attrition and failure rate of student in mathematics.
Professor SunMonu said while MLCs were not magical pills to cure students’ failure in mathematics, the lack of it is certain to exacerbate students’ frustration and failure to achieve their educational goals.
Professor SunMonu made the call when he delivered a lecture to mark the tenth anniversary celebration of the Regent University College of Science and Technology in Accra.
The lecture had the theme, “Enhancing mathematics education at the tertiary level: the place of Maths Learning Centres.”
He described MLCs as a place where students could seek help on various Mathematics courses and topics offered at a university.
The centre, he said, was basically made up of a director, a coordinator, front desk workers, and student tutors.
The director, he said should generally be a Mathematics professor, who serves as a liason between the centre, the mathematics Department, Professors, and the college administration.
The Director would be responsible for securing funding needed to operate the centre effectively, and ensures that, assignments and materials presented in classes are available.
Professor SunMon said most science, technology and engineering disciplines require a good working knowledge of mathematics beyond algebra, “but unfortunately most students start college deficient in basic college algebra.”
He said research had shown that poor performance in basic mathematics skills hamper the progress of students in reaching their college educational goals.
“In fact about 50 per cent of students don’t pass college algebra with a grade of C or above. The Mathematics course students take can make or break their confidence,” he said.
He said experience also show that students benefit greatly from peer tutoring under the MLCs especially when they study under peer tutors, to understand difficult mathematics concepts.
Peer tutoring, he said improves confidence, self-esteem, and greater assistance towards learning Mathematics.
“Peer tutors, themselves are always fresh in their understanding of Mathematics concepts, and provide role models for the students to enjoy learning Mathematics,” stressed Professor SunMonu, who has been a Professor of Mathematics at the City University of New York since 1992.
He is the Founder of and Director of Mathematics Learning Centre at York College of the City University of New York in 2010.
Professor Francis Kofi Allotey, renounced Ghanaian mathematical physicist who chaired the lecture, expressed concern about the decline in the teaching and learning of mathematics at the tertiary level.
He therefore called for increased incentives to motivate mathematics teachers to give off their best.
Professor Allotey said the traditional format of teaching mathematics has not changed for the dozens of decades, adding that there is the need to move towards MLCs.
He said education could no longer be conducted in a relaxed manner because technology was creating a future at a very fast pace than education.
By Times Reporter