Mathematics! For some, it’s as easy as one, two, three. And yet for many others, algebra, trigonometry and calculus are the stuff of nightmares.  Math anxiety is a common phenomenon, but when it begins to adversely affect the academic performance of a sizeable number of school students, steps need to be taken to make the subject more accessible and student-friendly.  

This seems to be the thinking behind MHRD’s recent decision to set up a committee under Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama to suggest measures to remove the fear of maths from students.

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi after the annual meeting of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar said, “One thing has come up in the National Assessment Survey 2017 that students have fear complex about maths. We have formed a committee under Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama to see how to remove that fear complex so that the students see it as a friendly subject”.

The committee, with educationists and officers as its members, shall be submitting a report within three months with its suggestions to make mathematics more student-friendly.

In November last year, MHRD conducted the National Achievement Survey (NAS), the largest ever national assessment survey in the country and amongst the largest in the world. The survey, conducted under third-party verification by more than 1.75 lakhs trained field investigators from outside the government education system, assessed the learning levels of more than 25 lakhs students from students of Classes 3, 5, and 8, from 1,10,000 schools across 700 districts in all 36 States and Union Territories.

As per the results of the survey, it was found that students found it especially difficult to solve complex math problems. Students of class III averaged between 63% and 67% marks in maths, while in class V, average scores fell by about 10 percentage points to 53-58%, and in class VIII, the fall was even sharper. On average, a class VIII student could barely answer 40% of the questions in maths.

Since ancient times, India has made immeasurable contributions to the discipline of mathematics and world over the stereotypical Indian is a math genius. Here’s hoping that the ministry’s move would once again popularise the subject among students. 

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