Having trained around 180 teachers and 600 students each year since the inception of a virtual maths centre in 2010, the National Centre for Mathematics (NCM) — a joint initiative of IIT Bombay and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) — will now be built at IIT Bombay’s Powai campus. The aim is to enable teachers to experience on-campus learning and demystify maths for students.
“According to a survey, one-third of engineers do not possess mathematical skills needed in day-to-day life for doing simple transactions, counting and arranging. They have a weak understanding of concepts as elementary as decimals, powers, operations, ratio, fractions and the ability to apply these concepts to real-world problems. Similarly, doctoral students in most universities in India are not provided basic education in fundamental areas of mathematics. The NCM is an attempt to bridge these glaring gaps,” said an IIT Bombay official.
The Centre will also enable leading mathematicians from India and abroad to get together, stay on campus and undertake joint research activities. While Rs 32 crore have been approved for constructing the building, actual construction will start from the middle of this year. “Currently, the Centre is virtual and the programmes are being run in collaboration with different institutes across the country, but for things to run smoothly and under one roof, IIT Bombay and TIFR have proposed constructing a building for NCM,” said the official.
While annual foundation schools will be targeted at first year PhD students, advanced instructional schools will be for second to fifth year PhD students. Besides, there will be workshops for researchers, instructional schools for college and university teachers, and teacher’s enrichment workshops for college teachers. “Teachers’s enrichment workshops have been started in few metro cities. It is meant to introduce college mathematics teachers to interesting topics in the basic subjects they teach,” said another official.