MTA Second Annual Conference 2020 – Programme Details

5th September, Saturday

11:45 am – 1:15 pm
Keynote lecture 1 followed by discussion: Neena Gupta, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata

Title:  Some problems on polynomial Rings

“Polynomials and power series
May they forever rule the world.”

Thus begins a poem composed by Shreeram S. Abhyankar in 1970. Polynomials are introduced at a very early stage in our studies, yet there are many interesting fundamental problems on polynomial rings which are easy to state but difficult to approach. In this talk we shall discuss a few problems on polynomial rings and some recent progress.

About the speaker: Neena Gupta, who is at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. is a young mathematician with outstanding research achievements. She is the youngest person in Mathematical Sciences to receive the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the country for research in Science, that honours scientists for significant and cumulative contribution to their area of research.

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Discussion forum on Mathematics education during the pandemic: Issues, challenges and possible solutions

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought before us unprecedented challenges. Education is especially disrupted due to the various lockdown and distancing measures in place. Many teachers and students across the country are struggling to cope with the challenges while keeping teaching and learning alive. In this discussion forum, mathematics teachers will discuss the challenges, efforts, and innovations they undertook to achieve successful teaching.

Elementary School Discussion forum

During this massive disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching out to young children from primary and middle grades has been the most difficult task ahead of teachers. Making use of the technology not only to attend school but to share their work/ ideas is not easy at this age level, as it might be for secondary or higher secondary students. Said this, not being part of the online process is also not an option for students and teachers of elementary grades; especially for the subject of mathematics. Therefore, in this discussion forum, we engage with teachers and principals on issues and challenges faced by students and teachers of mathematics at the elementary and middle grades stage, as well as to outline possible solutions.
The forum will feature 6 teachers as panelists making short presentations (lasting roughly 6 minutes each) on three themes, followed by about 40 minutes of open discussion.

Co-ordinator: Shweta Naik (Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education)

Theme 1: Implementation issues, challenges, and solutions

Mr. Siby Sebastian, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Principal, Bijapur, Karnataka

Theme 2: Pedagogical issues, challenges, and solutions

Mr. Pralhad Kathole, Primary School Teacher and Co-Creator of Shikshak Courses, Maharashtra.

Ms. Neeta Batra, TGT( Mathematics), Directorate of Education, Govt of NCT of Delhi

Theme 3: Assessment issues, challenges, and solutions

Ms. Anchal Chomal, Assessment Expert, Azim Premji Foundation


Secondary School Discussion forum

During the massive disruption, if there is one set of students that the country seems most worried about it is those in classes 9 to 12, with Board Examinations for Classes 10 and 12 next year already looming large in the minds of the public as well as governments. While few have talked of curricular changes necessitated by the pandemic either at university level or for elementary schools, CBSE as well as State Boards have announced syllabus cuts, some have even given revised evaluation plans for the secondary stage.  The percentage of students attending online classes is also the highest for this stage, much higher than either college students or middle schoolers. Within the secondary school, if there is one subject discipline that captures the maximum attention of all “stakeholders” it is mathematics.

Therefore the MTA conference has allotted to one session to a discussion on issues and challenges faced by students and teachers of mathematics at the secondary and higher secondary stage, with a view to outlining possible solutions as well.

This discussion forum is scheduled on Sept 5, Saturday, the first day of the conference from 3 to 4-30 pm. It will feature 6 teachers as panelists making short presentations (lasting roughly 6 minutes each) followed by about 40 minutes of open discussion.

Coordinator: Sneha Titus (Azim Premji University)

Theme 1: Implementation issues

Kalpana Kannan, HM, Greater Chennai Corporation school, Kotturpuram
Anita Sharma, Principal SD Public School, Pitampura, New Delhi

Theme 2: Pedagogy

Amit Bajaj, CRPF School, Rohini, Delhi
R Ramanujam, Govt higher secondary school, Palakkad

Theme 3: Assessment

S Palanivasan, AMTI, Chennai
Shailesh Shirali, Sahyadri school

Higher Education Discussion Forum

The current pandemic and the response of higher education institutes and regulatory authorities of promoting online classes and exams raises many issues. These include accessibility, pedagogy, assessment, technology, equity and integrity. The speakers in this session will share their experiences, insights and recommendations.

Jyoti Bhola is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Hansraj College, University of Delhi and serves as Coordinator of Mahatma Hansraj Faculty Development Centre under PMMMNMTT Scheme of MHRD, Govt of India. She will share her experiences of adapting to teaching and learning during these challenging times, different digital platforms that she became acquainted with and used during this phase to stay connected to her students, and their positive and negative aspects.

Anshu Gupta is a faculty member of the School of Business, Public Policy and Social Entrepreneurship, Ambedkar University Delhi. Her teaching and research interests include quantitative methods, management science, operations management, operations research, supply chain management, quality management and marketing management. She will speak from the point of view of applied mathematics with special reference to the mathematics/quantitative methods related to decision sciences and management education. She will take up issues related to pedagogy, assessment and the way forward in online education.

Tathagata Sengupta works at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (TIFR), Mumbai. He is trained in Algebraic Geometry and is currently trying to understand Education as a site of negotiations between Society and Knowledge systems. His main interest is to understand and explore the problem called ‘Mathematics Education and Research’.He will take up issues of technology and equity.

Coordinator: Amber Habib (Shiv Nadar University) and Geetha Venkataraman (Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University Delhi). 

5:30 pm – 6:45 pm
Keynote lecture 2 followed by discussion: Po-Shen Loh, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Title: Mathematics vs COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life across the globe. What does a Biological phenomenon have to do with Mathematics? Quite a lot, as it turns out. One uniquely devastating characteristic of COVID-19 is that it transmits before symptoms appear. To fight this, the concept of Contact Tracing has become part of common conversation, as a standard method of fighting contagious disease. Mathematically, that is based on Graph Theory and Probability. Leveraging his research expertise in these areas, the speaker recently introduced NOVID, a new and different way to perform Contact Tracing, which allows people to protect themselves before being exposed to COVID-19, as opposed to only isolating people after exposure.

Since the speaker is actually a mathematics educator, he will give this talk in a style which contains parts that can be used by teachers to explain the relevance of the mathematics taught at all levels, in relationship to the single greatest issue at this time: COVID-19. The talk will also be delivered in a style that demonstrates online teaching techniques.

About the Speaker: Po-Shen Loh is a mathematics professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also the founder of the free personalized learning platform, supported by his online series of Daily Challenge math classes for middle school students. He is also the national coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad team. During the COVID-19 outbreak, he turned his attention to creating NOVID, the world’s first COVID-19 app demonstrably capable of measuring distance with sub-meter accuracy.


6th September, Sunday

11:30 am – 1:00 pm
National Education Policy and mathematics education: A Panel discussion

The Government of India has recently announced the National Education Policy 2020. The NEP addresses a range of issues including institutional structures, pedagogy, curricula, teacher training, and technology, and has the potential for a profound impact on the state of education in India. A wide spectrum of views have been expressed in the media on the NEP. For this panel discussion, we wish to view the NEP from the perspective of mathematics education and the role of MTA(I) as a professional teachers’ organization. Some of the questions that the discussion will focus on are:

  • What is the vision of mathematics education that is projected in the NEP 2020 at the school and higher education levels? Does it reflect a continuity or a break with the vision articulated in earlier policy documents?
  • What is the role of a professional mathematics teachers’ association in ensuring that the impact of NEP 2020 is in the right direction? What are the gains made so far in Indian education that must be protected and strengthened? What are the negative consequences that one must be alert to? What opportunities does the NEP 2020 bring to usher in positive changes? What is to be done?

The panelists are

  • Anita Rampal, Former Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University
  • Jyoti Sethi, TGT Mathematics, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Aya Nagar, Delhi
  • Amber Habib, Dean, Undergraduate Studies, Shiv Nadar University
  • Tulsi Srinivasan, Faculty member, Azim Premji University

Moderator: K. Subramaniam, Professor, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (TIFR)

The session is scheduled for 90 minutes starting at 11:30 am on Sunday, 6th Sept. At the beginning, the moderator will introduce the panelists and the theme of the panel. Following this, each panel member will speak/ make a brief presentation. Panelists will respond to / comment on other presentations. This will be followed by open discussion for about 40 minutes.


2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Workshop on Digital technology and online resources: A means to support mathematics learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here is the detailed schedule of the workshop.

2:00 – 2:10    Brief introduction to the theme of the session (Jonaki Ghosh)
2:10 – 2: 40   Teaching remotely using GeoGebra (Sangeeta Gulati)
2:40 – 2: 50   Teaching mathematics using the digital white-board (Sangeeta Gulati)
2:50 – 3:00    Exploratory activities using spreadsheets (Jonaki Ghosh)
3:00 – 3:10    Possibilities with digital resources (Sneha Titus)
3:10 – 3:30    Interaction with the audience

Click here for workshop details 

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
MTA General Body meeting and plan of activities

The General Body meeting is open only to MTA members.

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Cultural Programme

Cultural events generally include performances or displays of artistic expression, often by renowned artist/s. However, a pandemic version of a cultural event is going to be a collage of performances from the participants. Participants can sing, play an instrument, read poetry, read significant texts, share their art (sculpture, photography, paintings, etc.) for about 5-7 minutes. They can volunteer during the session or send an email in advance to the conference
Co-ordinator: Shweta Naik