Prof. Kumaresan, our colleague in the School of Mathematics will be 60 this year. A man of many parts, one of his activities is to direct MTTS, the MATHEMATICS TRAINING AND TALENT SEARCH PROGRAMME that has been funded by the National Board for Higher Mathematics for the past 18 years… The aims of this programme are
- To teach mathematics in an interactive way rather than the usual passive presentation. To promote active learning, the teachers usually ask questions and try to develop the theory based on the answers and typical examples. At every level the participants are encouraged to explore, guess and formulate definitions and results.
- To promote independent thinking in mathematics.
- To provide a platform for the talented students so that they can interact with their peers and experts in the field. This serves two purposes: i) the participants come to know where they stand academically and what they have to do to bring out their full potential and ii) they establish a rapport with other participants and teachers which help them shape their career in mathematics.
These schools have been held at a number of places- many of the IITs, Pune, Allahabad, Pondicherry, Indore, … – and have been a great success. Each level (I and II) has lectures in the four basic streams of Mathematics: Algebra, Analysis, Geometry and Topology. Students of Level O are offered courses in Basic Real Analysis, Linear Algebra, Geometry (curve tracing, sketching of surfaces, classification of quadric surfaces) and one of Discrete Probability, Combinatorics and Elementary Number theory.
As befits a person who has devoted so much time to manpower development in mathematics and mathematics training, the School of Mathematics in collaboration with the National Institute for Science Education and Research in Bhubaneswar have organized a three day meeting on Mathematics Education- Trends and Challenges from 19 to 21 August, 2011. This conference/meeting is intended to invite the attention of the mathematics community concerning the perilous trend that is prevailing in “Mathematics education” and to make a sincere attempt to suggest some remedies. It is planned to bring out a white paper on the present scenario of mathematics education.
Perilous trend is just about right. There are paradoxes aplenty in the scenario of mathematics and mathematics education in the country. The work of Prof. Kumaresan in this arena, in encouraging the growth of competence in our mathematics community, will go a long way in ensuring that although the road ahead may be a bit rocky and steep, there will be mathematicians to help us along the way…