I am deeply troubled by a situation you can improve and a decision you can reverse. This is a critical issue involving mathematics and our responsibilities. I would like to request that you take a few moments out of your busy schedules to assess the gravity of the situation we are in.
With the introduction of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), we are hopeful for a more meaningful and holistic education system. This transition, which we are currently witnessing, is intended to produce better results rather than merely experimentation. It should be a sign of better things to come. Our country's education system is changing. NEP 2020 envisions changes in mathematics pedagogy, not its relegation. Without a doubt, mathematics, or any other subject for that matter, cannot be made compulsory at the tertiary level of the formal system of education; however, it is not a big deal to recognize that mathematics should be offered as a major subject of study because there are people who not only appreciate and understand the value of this subject, but they also appreciate its beauty.
We owe a lot to mathematics and benefit from it in ways we may not realize. Nobody can overstate the importance of mathematics in tertiary education. In fact, we should be all-praise for the unfathomable effectiveness of mathematics which pervades everywhere and we should be offering the study of mathematics at all levels and in all places.
Unfortunately, the Cluster University of Srinagar does not offer mathematics as a major subject in a majority of its constituent colleges. Surprisingly, the premier constituent science college, which has been in operation for over a century, is also not offering mathematics as a major subject. Simply put, it does not add up. On the contrary, mathematics should have been made available not only everywhere, but also more encouragingly and appealingly. Our education system already faces a slew of challenges. We simply cannot afford to ignore them, let alone add to the tally.
Mathematics cannot be done away with nor can it be relegated because of the enormous role it plays in shaping a learner's mind and attitude, as the caretakers must understand.
Consider a group of scholars and academicians who lack knowledge of higher-level mathematical concepts. Consider a plethora of varsity alumni who lack knowledge of linear algebra, numerical analysis, and real analysis. This is going to be devastating. I am enervated by the mere thought of it. The progress of a nation has everything to do with mathematics.
Dear colleagues, how can a single college and a mathematical institute meet the mathematical needs of thousands of people? Doesn't it make us shiver that, on the one hand, the University of Kashmir is offering mathematics as a major in an enormous number of its affiliated colleges, but the Cluster University of Srinagar has other plans? Isn't this in conflict with NEP 2020's vision of allowing students to study subjects of their choice, not just up to the third semester but beyond?
This issue has been brought to the attention of those in charge, but most of them have not responded, let alone justified the decision. As educators, we should be concerned, and as decision-makers, we should feel accountable.
In a math-phobic society, we should take steps to increase people's exposure to it in order to dispel their fear. To meaningfully engage our children and students in mathematics, we must put our shoulders to the wheel. We cannot avoid a problem by giving it a wide berth. We must take the bull by the horns. We must be willing to take on the challenge.
A lot of people fear mathematics because of what they have been told of it. A lot more will dread it now because of how their varsity has dealt with it.
It is a humble request that you put the heads together and chalk out strategies in more meaningful ways. Kindly act now or the alumni will have regrettable mentions of the varsity. You can reverse your decisions and you must.
With hopes and regards
Firdous Ahmad Mala
Assistant Professor, Government Degree College Sopore