Punjab government school students from Classes VI to X will write a 50-mark test on Vedic mathematics on Tuesday, according to an order issued by Director-General of School Education (DGSE) Pradeep Aggarwal.
The results of the test have to be compiled by 4 pm the same day and sent to the DGSE office. District education officers (DEOs) will prepare a list of schools that did not conduct the test and submit it to the DGSE office.
The students would be tested, said DGSE Aggarwal, to assess how well they have understood lessons in Vedic maths, and the results will help in planning the future curriculum. Vedic maths is not part of the school curriculum yet.
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The test is being conducted after 5,000 mathematics teachers in the state underwent three-day training on the subject following a grant of Rs 3.5 lakh issued by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development to Punjab for the purpose.
The course was conducted by 110 resource persons who were trained at the Regional Institute of Cooperative Management in Chandigarh in October. A five-member team from the Indian Institute of Vedic Mathematics and Abacus (IIVA) trained the resource persons.
Votaries of Vedic maths, including educationist Dinanath Batra, trace it to an ancient Indian model of mental mathematics that enables practitioners to do complicated sums at great speed. Critics of Vedic maths, however, say it has no association with the Vedas.
A Vedic maths module, uploaded on the website of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) Punjab School Education (www.ssapunjab.org) prepared in coordination with Delhi-based IIVA, describes Vedic maths as an ancient system of mathematics formulated over many centuries by sages and rishis. It was rediscovered from the Vedas between 1911 and 1918 by Jagadguru Swami Shri Bharti Krishna Tirathji Maharaj, it says.
“The idea is to make maths calculations easier for students. We are not endorsing any particular book or author, but the module uploaded on our website was done in coordination with IIVA professionals who trained our teachers. We studied the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka models and found out that students there are faster in calculations because of Vedic maths,” said Amarbir Singh, Assistant State Project Director for Maths and Science in the Punjab school education department.
Rakesh Kumar Nagaich, senior professor of mathematics at Punjabi University, Patiala, said: “Vedic maths is simple tricks which make complicated calculations easier. Using these tricks, complicated calculations can be solved in seconds. But a three-day training for teachers or a test for students will not serve the purpose. Vedic maths should be made part of the regular curriculum so that students use it while solving questions.”