Culture at the forefront of mathematics research at the University of Goroka: The Glen Lean Ethnomathematics centre

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Ethnomathematics is fundamental to the development of mathematics. People in different societies have developed mathematics and so a record of what has and is being developed and used in Papua New Guinea societies is an essential part of the University of Goroka Mathematics. The University established the Glen Lean Ethnomathematics Centre to house the first contact and later material gathered by Glen Lean to establish his extensive thesis with appendices of the counting systems of 1200 languages in Papua New Guinea and Oceania. This was a massive undertaking. The Centre was set up initially in 2000, moving to the historic house in 2001 as a result of the vision of the then Vice Chancellor, Head of Mathematics and its early Directors, Wilfred Kaleva and Rex Matang. A USA National Science Foundation Award assisted with setting up a database and website of the material. A copy of Glen’s thesis, Rex’s Master’s thesis and others are housed in the Centre. In recent years, the Centre has promoted other research such as a large study of measurement in Papua New Guinea, Rex’s investigation of the role of counting in Tok Ples for enabling early school mathematics; Pickles’ study of gambling in Goroka, and most recently a study of Improving the teaching of mathematics in elementary schools by using local languages and cultural activities: Technology enhanced teacher professional learning funded by Australian Development Research Award and involving the staff of the Division of Mathematics and Computing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
JournalSouth Pacific Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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