Unlike most Delhi University students who returned to their colleges after the semester break, twenty-odd students met at the Cluster Innovation Centre last week to kickstart the country’s first meta-university course — Masters in Mathematics Education.
The two-year joint degree programme, a collaboration between Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University, has attracted a motley crowd. Students believe that the course will introduce them to new methods in mathematics education.
After completing his graduation in Mathematics in 1994 at Magadh University, 43-year-old Surendra Kumar Gupta has been making a living by teaching school students in Delhi. A native of Bodh Gaya in Bihar, Gupta felt the need for a change in the way mathematics is taught.
“Mathematics is a subject which many students find to be boring. A survey in the UK found that almost 80 per cent students found the subject uninteresting. I have also felt that there are such problems,” Gupta said.
He expects the meta-university course to focus on innovative ways to teach mathematics. “Now that I have taken admission to this course, I plan to change my approach towards teaching mathematics in the tuition classes,” he said.
While the idea behind the meta-university course is to introduce better teachers, the mix of education, media studies and mathematics on offer has attracted students. Madhav Kundan pursued B Ed after completing a BA in Computer Application from Jamia. “The course structure of Masters in Mathematics Education emphasises on mathematics and pedagogy on the one hand and media on the other. I found this very interesting. The AJK Mass Communication Centre at Jamia is among the best places for studying mass communication. We are getting an opportunity to study there as part of the course,” Madhav said.
A few students of this course wanted to study advanced mathematics, which their graduation courses did not allow them to do. “I have always been interested in mathematics but never thought of doing a Masters in the subject. I want to know about how mathematicians think and how the subject can be linked with mass communication,” Anuj Pradhan said. Pradhan has studied Mathematics (Honours) at Sri Venkateswara College and is not sure about the career path that he will take after this course.
“I hope this course will help me make a career choice,” he said.