Senegal like most African history has its our story to tell about historic education systems and their revolutions. Left with little choice Senegal was bound to use software made in France called “Geogebra”. Its practicality in assisting with daily needs and problem solving solutions seems to a large extent to be questionable in addressing mathematical problems hence Michel Seck`s new innovation ,“Simula” an uprising mathematics alternative never before done by anyone in Senegal or Africa.
Solving problems is one challenge in life we all face, but through massive growth in technology and innovation, human beings have managed to come with up with real life changing solutions. In this modern world where our capabilities are massively controlled by machines together with the amount of problems and their varying degrees of complexity, Programming has become a tool for problem solving. Thousands of Universities, Colleges and students learning in this faculty are living testimony to its importance and significance.
A Senegal academician legend who teaches mathematics at a University in Dakar also realised this when he created a software program called Simula Math that simplifies Mathematics for his students. Mathematics is a cut across concerning issue in most developing countries. It is perceived as a tricky and boring subject by many from the beginning of their school life. The reasons for these difficulties and the lack of interest stem from the specific type of subject and the ways of teaching. According to the commission for Developing countries International Mathematical Union Report (2014) , low numbers of secondary school teachers in maths at masters and Phd levels together with few professors to train the next generation of leaders, countries cannot meet the growing demand for mathematicians with advanced, up-to-date training. Further more deficient and outdated infrastructures, instrumentation, and teaching materials coupled with geographical isolation, are still major contributing factors.
None of these limiting factors stopped this young Senegal legend Michel Seck in becoming part of the change he wanted to see in the field of Mathematics. He bridges a massive missing gap in Mathematics with his creativity and all the features it has. One of them is the function of coding. A massively growing literacy of the 21st century which empowers our digital world. Every website, smartphone app, computer programme, calculator and even microwave relies on code in order to operate. This makes coders the architects and builders of the digital age. Organisations like Coderdojo are practical examples of what Michel is also advocating for. According to the author, Simula has nearly 120,000 lines of code. “It allows to do directly exercises of statistics, calculation of the limits and computations of great powers”.
Cryptology , also Michel’s specialisation is a classical subject which traditionally is supposed to guarantee confidentiality and integrity of messages also offered by this software. Algebra applications inclusive as well. Such features enable graduate students to gain experience on important real-world problems, and understand the applicability of mathematical concepts in solving problems based in different scenarios. Based on his own personal experience, Michel wishes this feature within the soft ware will widen the scope of teaching mathematics in many schools and promote accessibility in ICT to both teachers and students, a problem the country could not solve for centuries.
Linear algebra — the branch of mathematics concerning vector spaces and linear mappings between such spaces which includes study of lines, planes, and subspaces is yet another feature of the software. It is a very broad field which can allow learners to choose their specific personal specialisations such as machine operations for example. One of the important application of Matrices is to solve system linear equations which are required by physicists, engineers & scientists to solve physical systems in the areas of electronics networks, space craft and many others. What this therefore signifies is that not only does the software equip students with skills needed for majority of essential job opportunities in the real world but it also improves the quality of mathematics teaching in Senegal. Maximising student chances of obtaining /creating better jobs as a result. The fact that it is free and will probably be used from high school to University, Michel would have overcome various challenges faced by the Mathematics department in Senegal. Any child equipped with all this skills from Michael’s software can be declared as ready to conquer the world and all the pre-requisites needed to enter into faculties of engineering sciences which require quality maths methodologies.
Creativity in education deals with new connections, and imaginative ways of thinking. Creativity not only enables the learner to make connections between unfamiliar elements but also identification of important problems and their connectedness. Curiosity building and openness to new ideas give rise to new innovators never seen nor expected. Solutions to problems arising are thus continuously found. Michel is a living proof. If many can follow in his footsteps, a new revolutionised Africa may soon be a living reality to many.
If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.