Utilising Mathematics Skills in the Education System in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Nigeria

Gladys Charles-Ogan


Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, by the year 2015 in possible if the challenges of extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS pandemic and mass illiteracy among others are overcome.  Since the Mathematics as a tool for development is evident in all fields of human endeavour, its utility in a nation like Nigeria cannot be over emphasized.  It also serves as the bedrock for development in all ramifications. This paper highlights the significant role of Mathematics in achieving MDGs as at when due.

Furthermore, the inability to apply Mathematical skills at various levels in the education system, in Nigeria affects national development. And it was recommended that providing the Mathematics education curriculum should be designed to meet the needs of Nigeria by raising the academic quality of the curriculum, particularly within the primary and secondary education sector.


Iji, Abakpa and Takor (2013) stated that any where human activities are carried out, there exist mathematics either as arithmetic, algebra, calculus, geometry, trigonometry or statistics that uses signs, symbols and/or proofs to describe relationships.  On this basis, Otunu-Ogbisi (2009). defines mathematics teaching and learning as the act of imparting and acquiring of skills, knowledge, aptitude, abilities and attitude capable of making the individual functional and productive for effective all round achievement of a  nations developmental goals.  Mathematics, like any other subject is therefore seen to be important to the extent to which it supports and contributes to the purposes of general education (Oteze, 2011).

Odumosu, Oluwayemi, and Olatunde (2012) made a good attempt to enumerate mathematics application areas, as the carpenter’s hammer, tailor’s tape, artist’s pencil, barber’s clipper, hair dresser’s comb, journalist’s pen, broadcaster’s microphone, doctor’s stethoscope and lawyer’s wig.  They further qualified mathematics as an essential ingredient in manufacturing industries and essential tool in economic activities, bride of the sciences, chief bride’s maid of social science ladies in waiting for engineering, cosmetology of arts and unavoidable servant of management sciences.  In fact, the National Science Foundation (2009), in one of its briefings implied that the applications of mathematics to problem areas depend on the understanding of the concepts and the principles of mathematics by the problem solver.

Attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which in the education sector is to eliminate illiteracy through basic education as well as maintain gender equality in the delivery of instructions in schools is a welcome development.  The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme has enshrined these two goals in their objective which state to ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills, as well as ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for life-long learning, among others.

To be able to attain these MDGs before the 2015 deadline, different educations had recommended many avenues which included Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education since the world today is embedded and governed by science and technology due to increasing discoveries, explorations, inventions and innovations (Jack, 2013).  Acquisition of mathematical skills which emphasizes a purposeful study of mathematics and its application to the social and economic life of a nation also entails basic knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that are necessary for development.  Mathematics education is therefore perceived as a major tool for rapid social and economic development.  The more industrialized countries of the world utilized their mathematics to develop their economics.  Local enterprises can still be competitive in the global trade environment with enhanced innovation and scientific content in their operations in all areas (Jack, 2013).

Mathematics as a school subject is taught solely for the purpose of developing the learner’s habit of effective critical thinking, providing competence in the basic skills ability to communicate through symbolic expressions, ability to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant data, making relevant judgement, among others.  Thus transferring the relevant skills learnt to everyday problem solving areas for individual self sustenance, wealth creation, entrepreneurship and national development which are necessary for the attainment of MDGs has been in difficult task.  This paper therefore is to highlight how mathematics skills acquisition and its utilization have shaped the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

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