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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

DU’s new maths foundation course goes beyond the regular

Mallica Joshi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 12, 2013
First Published: 00:43 IST(12/4/2013) | Last Updated: 02:46 IST(12/4/2013)

Studying games such as lotto and Khul Ja Sim Sim that use the concept of probability, comparing the monthly weather for two successive years and doing a survey on classmates’ spending habits is what Delhi University’s foundation course called Building Mathematical Ability, is going to teach the first year students from the coming academic year.

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The course is part of the new four-year baccalaureate with honours programme where students will have the option of exiting after two years (associate baccalaureate degree), three years (baccalaureate degree) or four years (baccalaureate with honours).

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Under the new system, all students will have to take this course as part of the 11 compulsory foundation courses. This includes students from all disciplines irrespective of the degree that they want.

The move has increased apprehension among students as well as some teachers, who are worried that the imposition of the course will create problems for students who are weak in mathematics. The Vice Chancellor, who is overseeing the preparation of the course, believes, however, that the course will equip students with important skills without being very difficult. The penultimate structure of the course is ready. As per this structure, students will primarily focus on familiarity with numbers (mainly properties and patterns of prime numbers and their application), data and patterns, which will include discussions on risk assessment by insurance firms and weather predictions from atmospheric data.

According to statisticians and career councellors, mathematical ability is important to understand trends and use information effectively.

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