The first of its kind African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Ghana forum 2022 for industry and academia has been held with a call for improvement in how mathematical ideas are taught in schools at the Google Office, Accra.
Contributing to the discourse, a former lecturer of AIMS, Dr. Edward Prempeh said there is a need for improvement in how mathematical ideas are transmitted to students.
“If we can make it easy with the basic language we use, then it will be easy for students to understand maths and remove maths phobia. Make it practical for people to understand”, he stated.
The event was themed, “Building Africa’s transformative leaders for the 4th industrial revolution: The role of mathematics and its applications.”
Several speakers on the day highlighted AIMS Ghana’s unique way of teaching STEM, particularly mathematics, to its students.
The forum which was organised as part of AIMS Ghana’s 10th-anniversary celebrations brought together personalities in academia and industry and was aimed at helping graduates transition into industry after formal studies.
In a welcome address, the COO of AIMS, Ms. Adelaide Asante underlined the importance of the forum which forms part of the 10th anniversary of AIMS Ghana. She said the forum aimed to demonstrate the impact of maths in various sectors of the economy, the role of universities in training, and research, and also to showcase the success stories of AIMS Ghana in industry and academia.
Rich in anecdote, the keynote speaker, Mr. Ras Boateng, the CEO of Pensions Alliance Trust, asserted that maths and STEM have been with us since creation.
“Maths is fundamental to everything we do,” he said and added, “Maths is the omnipresent academic discipline.”
Ras Boateng unveiled a T-shirt with the words, “And God said, let there be light. Until God decoded how to produce light, the world was in darkness. I propose to you, that God the almighty must be a mathematician. He gives form to the formless and structure to the unstructured.”
This was followed by a fascinating panel discussion that focused on “The role of technology and maths in building a resilient economic ecosystem.”
Addressing concerns on data loss and downtime, Stephen Kwaku Amponsah of the Collateral Registry, Bank of Ghana, and an alumnus of AIMS said “there must be controls in place when these risks crystalize as well as remediations in place when data loss occurs.”
Contributing to another panel discussion on the “Importance of mathematics training in health and energy technologies”, Prof. Nick Monk, Professor of Statistics, University of Sheffield said the world was able to deal with Covid due to the models already established by mathematicians in the area of infectious diseases.
“To develop a new drug, you need one billion dollars and it is all down to mathematics. If one can develop a model for the drug development, it may cut down the cost.”
The Global Head of Data and Analytics of Mpharma Seidu Tahiru emphasised the importance of quality data when highlighted how his former outfit employed maths techniques to map 250 communities to know the chronic diseases that are prevalent in every community.
On her part, Ms. Lovelyn Keteku, Acting Lead, 4th Zipline Distribution Centre stressed the role of technology in rapid response to emergencies to save lives.
There were contributions from Dr. Alex Somto Arinze Alochukwu of the University of Johannesburg, a Director of impact Group of Companies Mr. Giles Tetteh, and Dr. Joseph Essandoh- Yeddu, Lead Technical Partner for the UNEP Project on Electric Vehicles and Climate Smart Agriculture.
In a remark, the Centre President of AIMS Ghana, Dr. Prince K. Osei expressed his delight at the discussions that had taken place including but not restricted to improving the way mathematics is taught in schools to the link to maths in different fields such as AI and the arts.
“One of the main pillars AIMS is built on, is that the capacity to develop and innovate is not peculiar to a particular people. Africa has been left out. We want Africa to play a leading role.
“It is amazing how AIMS has contributed to this because our graduates are steeped in mathematical science. The Government of Ghana, the Canadian government, the German government, Google, Facebook, University Partners – KNUST, UG, UCC- and other donors have supported us.”
The event brought together alumni of AIMS Ghana, academia, and industry.