2nd National Mathematic Conference

During the Khmer revolution, young people were rigidly indoctrinated, but literacy was neglect-ed and almost an entire generation of Cambodian children grew up illiterate. After the Khmer Rouge was driven from power, the education system had to be recreated from scratch. Illiteracy had climbed to more than 40%, and most young people under the age of 14 lacked any basic education. The aftermath of this regime resulted in many difficulties, which we are still facing today. Now, Cambodia is prepar-ing itself to look at the integration of the Economic Community of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The economy of Cambodia is limited in comparison to other countries in the region. In order to foster economic growth, the human re-sources of the nation must be properly trained to compete in a regional marketplace, and thus education must be a top priority.

Today in Cambodia, the development of new mechanisms for the implementation of increased science education is an indispensable need. Further development could be partly achieved through strategic planning conferences – although it is important to recognize that planning alone is not enough. All kinds of coordination and cooperation, therefore, should be rapidly improved as well among all sectors on this issue.

Although just recently founded, the National Mathematic Conference has received significant sup-port from the public, including students and mathematics instructors throughout the nation. The conference has also received recognition from many mathematic societies in the region and globally. “Mathematics and Technology: Research, Education and Applications,” has been considered an important topic in order to show to the public how important math and science education is. To achieve these concepts, numerous conferences have been held in an effort to share experiences, and to develop recommendations from public stakeholders. Recommendations are focused particularly on determining key roles in promoting the study of mathematics and science all over the Kingdom of Cambodia, especially amongst the youth.

From October 21st to October 23rd, Mr. Teav Chhun Nan attended the 2nd National Mathematic Con-ference on Improving Quality and Effectiveness of Mathematics Education in Cambodia. The conference was chaired by H.E. Dr. IM Koch, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS). Pre-senters included Chan Roath, Member of the Organizing Committee in the Department of Scientific Research, MoEYS, Mr. Rod Well M.Ed, Associate Professor at 3 community colleges in Seattle, Washington, USA, and Mr. Craig Barton, Advanced Math Skills Teacher and Math Adviser to TES, UK.

In order to successfully achieve conference goals, the National Mathematic Conference established specific objectives for the three-day conference, as follows:

  • To show the applications of mathematics in natural and social sciences.
  • To promote and illustrate the advantages of using mathematics in the fields of science and technol-ogy, social science, and in real life activities to the public.
  • To introduce the use of computer applications in mathematics learning, mathematics teaching, mathematics research and other easy methods.
  • To show the perspective of mathematics and science education in Cambodia.
  • To disseminate conference findings through publishing proceedings of the conference.
  • To prepare national policy on mathematics and science education in Cambodia.
  • To fulfill the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport’s 1st step to reform mathematics in primary school, and high school.
  • To fulfill the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport’s 2nd step to reform mathematics in higher education by linking with high school.

The conference will also receive feedback and recommendations from participants in order to propose so-lutions to any possible issues, and, if possible, seek for other partners that provide science and technology services. Additionally, they hope to develop new methodologies on mathematics education so to raise Cambo-dia’s science and technology sectors to a competitive regional level.

Below is a brief summary of the outcomes and recommendations from the three-day conference:

  • Identify appropriate local speakers/presenters on vision, objectives, techniques, strategies, and policies to address the mathematics and science development in Cambodia.
  • Conduct open presentations on the usefulness of mathematics with potential participants prior to the meeting so as to provide them with basic knowledge and background on the subject before discussion.
  • The meeting also discussed the important steps in teaching mathematics, the topics discussed were as follows: Identifying, Understanding and Resolving key Misconceptions in Mathematics using Diagnostic Questions, When to ask a Diagnostic Question, Reacting to Students’ Answers, What makes a Good Diagnostic Question, Writing Questions Together, Planning Lessons, and Collec-tions of Questions.
  • Compare mathematics techniques and systems regionally and globally (Singapore, Japan, India, Australia and France).
  • Introduce ICT as part of high school mathematics education.
  • Introduce the use of GeoGebra software in high school curriculum.

By: Mr. Teav Chhun Nan

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