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Job-oriented course: Mathematics (Honours)

The proposed revision for B.Sc (H) Math programme may seem “tough” at first glance, but the course is market-friendly and job-oriented, say teachers. Swaha Sahoo reports. Check out college profile.Get expert advice. | Special: Campus calling
Hindustan Times | By Swaha Sahoo, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 29, 2008 08:15 PM IST

The proposed revision for BSc (H) Math programme may seem “tough” at first glance, but the course is market-friendly and job-oriented, say teachers. At the same time, a group of teachers have strongly opposed the revisions, citing lack of computer knowledge as a major hindrance in teaching the revised course.

“The hue and cry about the revised Math syllabus is just the vested interest of a handful of teachers,” said Pradeep Narayan, former Reader of Mathematics at Jesus and Mary College.

“If implemented the revisions will make DU’s Math course market-friendly and students will easily find jobs,” Narayan said. He added that teachers were reluctant to upgrade their skills and learn new methods of teaching.

The revision, which intends to do away with BA/BSc (H) Math and give a singular BSc degree, has integrated computer software such as Matlab, Mathematica and Maple. “The software will help students visualize the problem with the help of 3D illustrations of figures,” said Geeta Venkataraman, Reader of Math at St Stephen’s College and a member of the Empowered Committee set up to look into the revision. “Most teachers are not familiar with the computer software but they will be trained through workshops,” Venkataraman said.

The Delhi University Mathematics Teachers Association has opposed the changes, saying it will not benefit students. “Applied Mathematics is the order of the day and we are doing away with these papers,” said N.K. Jain, president of the Association and HoD Math at PGDAV College.

In contrast, Pankaj Garg, Math teacher and member of DU’s Academic Committee, said that the revised course would be more application based. “There are two reasons why companies don’t favour DU Math graduates. Our students don’t have computer knowledge and they are not taught application based Math. These two worries have been addressed in the revised syllabus after the introduction of financial mathematics and complex analysis papers,” Garg said.

However, Jain said that with vacations beginning, most teachers were unavailable for attending workshops. “Moreover, colleges do not have infrastructure for setting up Math labs,” he said.

The colleges have been promised help with building of infrastructure by the university. “We raised similar points with the committee,” said Garg. “Firstly, teachers are unfamiliar with the software. Secondly, the software is very expensive and not available in most colleges. And since application based papers have been introduced we will need computers exclusively for the Math lab,” he said.

He added some South Campus colleges already had the software. “The Empowered Committee has assured us that all efforts would be made to help colleges with setting up of Math labs. And with training of teachers I don’t see why we cannot implement the revised course,” Garg said.

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