Mathematics is an exact science. It is a science of numbers. The facts present
themselves and there is little room for argument or dispute. Great explorations,
inventions and designs have been successfully realized through the field of
However, great mathematicians are born and not taught. Not
everyone has the aptitude to become one, but
everyone is given an opportunity to study mathematics at school. Some can only
work through the basic principles of this, whilst others may have more ability
and are able to develop theories in advanced mathematics. Large numbers and
strings of figures may scare and confound
many people. From a young formative age, students are offered the challenges and
are encouraged to progress along through the various levels of the subject.
Those with a gift and show promise of great insights into the world of numbers
advance into further, applied and advanced mathematics and eventually undertake
to study it at university.
Whether it is at general or advanced level, mathematics has a fundamental
importance in our lives. It develops logical thought, giving us the ability to
reason things out. We apply it in our everyday living, from simple sums at the
market to calculating quantities for cooking and baking. It is used in computing
and crunching numbers and figures in finance and banking as in civil
construction and architecture, shipping, aeronautics or in a playing field
during a game. Mathematics is very much a part of our lives.
Before the age of technology, all sums and figures were done manually using
books, instruments and simple mental calculations and results were not as
precise or accurate. Schools ensured that students learnt all rules and tables
by rote and emphasis was on the mental abilities of the student. However, with
new age technology and computer, electronic calculators have made it easier and
we now do not put as much importance on memorizing multiplication tables and
simple arithmetic. Rather, emphasis has now changed to the abilities to work
scientific calculators and understanding the methodology of deducing the answer
to a mathematical problem. More complex calculations can now be worked out and a
more accurate answer achieved. Unfortunately, with advancement in such
technology, it has made people lazy and dependent more and more on these
devices. For those with a love of the subject, it has made it more interesting
and exciting as they are able to achieve their goal of final deductions quickly.
In some ways, the result of such advancement is that those with lesser aptitude
for the subject will be left behind, puzzled by the
conundrum of numbers.
Educationalists are becoming more aware of this and are streaming students of
mixed abilities to encourage better understanding of the basics and fundamentals
of numbers and mathematics. We know that the study and understanding of
mathematics will always be a part of our lives.