By Priscilla Kumbambe
Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) is hosting the 2019 Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association (SAMSA) conference, which is expected to run from 25 to 28 November, 2019 in Blantyre.
The annual international conference attracts Mathematicians, Statisticians, Computer Scientists and Mathematics Educators from the SADC member countries and was last held in Malawi in 2012.
And speaking during the official opening ceremony on November 25, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Honourable Dr William Susuwele-Banda, MP, said mathematicians have a role to contribute towards national development.
“In Malawi, we are lagging behind in the areas of sciences and mathematics, so government saw it wise to intervene. During this conference, people will be taught how to teach Mathematics and Science to motivate the learners and how they can apply these in their lives,” said the Minister.
“This will help change how Mathematics and Science are perceived in both secondary schools and universities.”
He further said since the theme of the conference is on Mathematics as a catalyst for development, the event will also help the participants to apply Mathematics principles in the various aspects of their lives such as industries, hospitals, agriculture and construction.
“There is more to Mathematics and Science than just adding numbers, hence the need to explore how best Mathematics can help in national development,” he explained.
On his part, MUST Council chairperson, Dr Andrew Daudi, said Malawi has generally few Mathematics teachers and this negatively affects students’ performance.
“So the plan is to groom both teachers and learners so that they can succeed in Mathematics and Sciences. MUST joined SAMSA and actively participate in its activities because the university is Mathematics and Sciences centred. As such, we are proud to groom future Mathematicians who will contribute towards national development,” said Dr Daudi.
In an interview, SAMSA chairperson Professor Sandile Motsa said Mathematicians, by nature and training, are problem solvers,
“In Africa we have many problems that countries are grappling with but no Mathematician has come out and presented a solution to any of the problems. This conference will encourage and teach Mathematicians how best to intervene and solve problems using Purpose Driven Mathematical Research to solve Africa’s complex problems,” he said, adding that the best way to succeed in Mathematics is to change the bad attitude people have towards Mathematics.
During the conference, participants will share research findings and equip each other with knowledge and skills on being a good Mathematics practitioner.
MUST has organised the conference in partnership with University of Malawi, Mzuzu University, Catholic University of Malawi, and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources through their respective relevant departments.
On Wednesday, November 27, the conference will take place at Malawi University of Science and Technology campus in Thyolo.