The maiden International Day of Mathematics (IDM) scheduled to take place at the University of Ghana last Saturday, to highlight the role mathematics plays in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 agenda of the United Nations, has been called off as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) scare.
The African Institute for Mathematical Studies (AIMS) and the Department of Mathematics of the UG were scheduled to hold a high profile symposium to commemorate the day, when the university authorities called it off at the last hour.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Mathematics is every” emphasising the important role mathematics play in every facets of life, especially in the breakthrough in science and technology in improving the quality of life, empowering women and girls.
“As I speak with you, we are removing all our posters and the exhibitions we have mounted at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research auditorium, it is unfortunate but what can we do?” a source close to the organisers told the Ghanaian Times on Saturday.
The source told the Ghanaian Times that the UG had placed a temporary ban on all gatherings on the campus till further notice to avoid the spread of the Covid-19.
Ghana has officially recorded six confirmed cases of corona virus.
The World Health Organisation has characterised the coronavirus, which is fast spreading since it was first discovered in Wuhan in China, as a global pandemic.
It has so far infected more than 162,501 people across 153 countries and territories, accounting for 6,068 deaths.
Concerned about the fact that there is no cure and vaccines against the viral disease, personally hygiene, avoiding hand shake, and large public gatherings have been recommended to stem the spread.
March 14 has been set aside by UNESCO at its 4Oth General Conference held in November last year, for countries of the world to observe the day through various activities to raise public awareness of the importance of mathematics education.
A panel of high profile government officials, development partners, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics experts were scheduled to lead the discussion to bring to the fore deeper understanding among the public, decision makers and schools of the importance of mathematics education to the improvement of human lives.
The IDM also seeks to highlight the role of mathematics in organisations, of modern society, including economics, financing, health, transport systems, telecommunications in quest for human well-being.
According to the literature on IDM, March 14 has been chosen because it was already celebrated in many countries as Pi Day, based on the fact that some countries write 3/14 and the mathematical constant Pi is approximately 3.14.
The IDM project is led by the International Mathematic Union with the support of 16 organisations from all over the globe.
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman