over the years, many authors and renowned mathematicians have written on the importance and significance of Mathematics as a subject.
In 2017, the International Research Journal Of Mathematics, Engineering and IT (IRJMEIT) some years ago quoted Carl Friedrich Gauss referring to mathematics as the queen of science.
However many mathematicians have researched that students unfortunately fear from this queen, although the subject is very essential to the growth of many other disciplines.
Many authors have in their researches have opined that Mathematics plays a vital role in all aspects of life.
The scholars suggest that all the routine functions require a strong mathematical background, and scientific experiments by scientists need mathematical techniques.
Mathematics provides an effective way of building mental discipline and encourages logical reasoning and mental rigor besides playing a crucial role in understanding the contents of other school subjects.
Someone has beautifully described Mathematics as “queen of all sciences” and mathematics is considered a discipline which every human is in need of and talks about.
Apart from the world wide issues, let us have a look at issues concerning the subject in our higher educational institutions in J&K UT.
The status of Mathematics is diminishing day by day and the educational institutions from school level to Universities are also silent on the issue.
Talking about the current status of mathematics and the level of progress in research in Jammu and Kashmir, there is nothing much to rejoice as unfortunately no serious efforts have been initiated towards the development of this important discipline in J&K in general and particularly in Kashmir.
A few months ago As per media reports, the Department of Mathematics of Kashmir University (KU) earlier this year held an alumni meet.
During the alumni meeting various issues were put forth by the mathematicians which needs to be pondered upon.
While deliberating on the current status of the subject, the mathematicians raised their concerns over the role and responsibilities of the stakeholders in Schools, Colleges and Universities in promoting the subject.
The scholars also discussed the allotment of seats in higher educational institutions under newly-launched New Education Policy (NEP)-2020.
The scholars said that unlike other subjects, a very little scope is being given to students to pursue their career in mathematics.
It was observed that out of the five constituent colleges of the Cluster University Srinagar (CUS) only one college has offered Mathematics as a major subject.
It has hurt the mathematicians and has become a major concern among the teachers of the subject.
However, on the other hand, the University has offered a huge number of seats in other subjects.
In wake of this, the members of Kashmir Mathematical Society have also expressed their deep anguish over the state of affairs.
The Society has also written to the varsity higher authorities several times but no heed was paid to the issue.
Besides the introduction of the Mathematics subject, the Institute of Mathematical Sciences was established in the year 2013 and a land worth 150 kanals was allotted to the institute.
But the permanent building for the institute is nowhere in sight over these years.
Now coming to the point, as per the notification issued by the Cluster University of Srinagar (CUS) only 50 seats have been allotted to the mathematics subject while for other subjects the allocation of seats varies from 100 to 400.
Going by the notification, it seems that the University has ignored one of the important subjects like Mathematics as a major subject while more focus and importance has been given to the other subject.
“While going through the allocation figures. It is unfortunate to see that only 50 seats were allotted to the Amar-Singh College and in the rest of the Colleges, a student cannot opt mathematics as a major subject,” the Kashmir Mathematical Society in a communication to VC Cluster University Srinagar has said.
During previous years over 1000-1500 students were earlier admitted in the Colleges now working under Cluster University Srinagar with mathematics as a main subject.
“We believe that instead of providing a good environment to the students at CUS under NEP-2020 to opt their subjects according to their choice, it seems that students are being deprived of their basic and fundamental rights,” the letter reads.
The mathematicians have raised their voice over the move saying that the it the higher educational institutions were not promoting mathematics education but were instead narrowing the road of education by discriminating some important subjects like mathematics.
“The students in general and female students in particular cannot come out of mathematics phobia due to such approach of authorities towards mathematics,” the mathematicians said.
The move has raised concerns among the mathematicians who said it has large implications so far because it will negatively impact other subjects like Physics, Electronics and Information Technology.
The mathematicians have expressed their concern over less allocations of seats for the mathematics subject and suggested that the subject may be introduced as a major subject in other constituent colleges as well.
The government has already taken a strong note of the issue and is likely to revisit the allotment of the seats for mathematics as major subject in colleges.
Officials said the constituent colleges of the Cluster University did not agree to run Honours’ Course in Mathematics under NEP-2020 citing lack of Human resources.
“The allotment was not done by the University alone but it was done after taking feedback from the principals and heads of the departments of these colleges. The colleges did not agree to run the course,” the official said.
He said the 50 seats were allotted to Amar Singh college after holding several deliberations with the college authorities.
“We could not force the Colleges to run the course as it was to be executed by them. We did not want disruptions in it,” the official said.
In-charge, Registrar and the Controller CUS, Prof Mir Khurshid said the allotment of seats will be revised in the next academic session and the intake for the Mathematics subject will be increased.
“Next year we can increase the intake and we will try to allot seats to all the constituent colleges,” he said.
No doubt the government has already taken a series of initiatives to bring reforms in education including the Higher Education Department (HED).
It is also a matter of the fact that the HED J&K has taken a lead implementation of NEP-2020 from the current academic session. One cannot deny the fact that the efforts put forth by the HED to make implementation of NEP-2020 in Higher Educational Institutions are really proving fruitful for the students across J&K.
To conclude, the government is talking about promotion of science and inculcating scientific temper among young students and has already succeeded to some extent in getting the initiatives implemented at the ground level. However this goal cannot be realised unless the authorities get serious in promoting mathematics which forms the fundamentals of many science subjects today.
It is a baseline subject to make this happen. Efforts should be made to promote all science streams equally, while equal allocation of seats should be made to all colleges irrespective of any bias or discrimination.