Tanzania has plenty of students who are good in mathematics at primary and secondary levels but they all tend to disappear when they join higher institutions of learning.
The University of Dar-es-Salaam Vice Chancellor, Prof Rwekaza Mukandala, revealed here that, many scholars who join local colleges and universities abandon mathematics and other sciences, opting for business and arts studies in their quest to find lucrative job markets.
“Most have been led to believe that mathematics cannot guarantee them employment once they leave colleges and universities so they usually change upon joining higher institutes of learning,” said Prof Mukandala during the ongoing “East Africa Universities Mathematics Programme (EAUMP) Conference” taking place at the Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology.
“At the UDSM Department of Mathematics for instance, there are only three mathematics experts; we have sent eight other young people for training but the vacuum is still big,” said the Don.The Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Professor Makame Mbarawa, while officially opening the conference, stated that the government was investing heavily in the fields of Science and research programmes in the country.
“Tanzania is dedicating one per cent of its total gross domestic product (GDP) to research and development with special emphasis on science and technology of which mathematics happens to be its core foundation,” said Prof Mbarawa.
According to the minister, the government has injected 26 billion/- from its 2012-2013 fiscal year budget into research projects comprising human development and capacity building, infrastructure and technology transfer.
“The government has also sponsored 295 post-graduate students taking science and technological studies as well as funding nearly 60 research projects,” said Prof Mbarawa who also took time to express gratitude to Sweden for the country’s assistance in mathematics, science and technology development in the East Africa region.
The Eastern Africa Universities Mathematics Programme (EAUMP) courtesy of The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the International Science Programme (ISP) of Sweden has organized two “brain boiling” events in Arusha including the just completed School on Combinatorial Commutative Algebra and the ongoing “Second conference in Mathematics.”
According to the EAUMP Secretary, Dr Sylvester Rugeihyamu who is the coordinator of the conference, the event has attracted 150 participants from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Tanzania as well as those from overseas; Europe and United States who are hosted by the University of Dar-es-Salaam.
The conference which is second in a series is also being held to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of EAUMP which was founded here in 2002 when the first conference was held.
The Second Conference is being held here from 22nd – 25th of August 2012. The event has attracted more than 100 participants including the delegates who participated in the previous “Summer Mathematics School,” which was also held here.
Participants include senior academics in mathematics from the East Africa region, the rest of Africa, Europe, Asia and United States of America.Earlier on the EAUMP held a week-long, “Summer Mathematics School” on Combinatorial Commutative Algebra at the same NM-AIST venue in Tengeru.
The School combined an audience of young academic staff members and advanced graduate students (Msc and PhD students) of Mathematics from the East Africa region and beyond while senior academic members interested in the topic also joined the School Lectures.
By MARC NWAME, Tanzania Daily News