Archive for November, 2008

National Knowledge Commission on Math Education: Macaulay II?

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Why did science management fail so badly in post-independence India?  Are we repeating the same mistakes? Why do we mindlessly imitate the West in science and math? Why do we regard Western formal math as superior  without ever having carried out a comparative evaluation? Are our science and math “experts” even capable of carrying out such a  comparative evaluation? Do they avoid public debate and prefer to operate behind closed doors just to hide their lack of capability? From what sources do they get (or hope to get) their wealth?

Here are some answers—background propositions and documents—on which  my objections to the National Knowledge Commision recommendations are based. (more…)

National Knowledge Commission and Math Education-II

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

 Dear Mr Pitroda,

It was nice to meet and interact with you again during the AIMA meet. I’m glad that you respect my fundamental disagreement regarding the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) and have agreed to place it on the NKC website.

Let me summarise my disagreement.

The key mistake made by the NKC is this: you have shopped for knowledge by brand names.

Taking the specific example of trigonometry, you recommended that we should follow the MIT open course content. You said that our teachers should change into mentors, who only convey this content to students.

Entirely to the contrary, I teach students that the first step towards knowledge is to re-create and test it oneself. Otherwise, it is not knowledge, but unreliable guesswork. A good teacher is needed to demonstrate this process in the classroom.

This applies even to an elementary subject like trigonometry. (more…)