Scared of square roots? Go back to your Vedic roots


As a kid, did numbers, stats and figures freak you out? Well, that’s a fear an overwhelming lot of youngsters can relate to. According to recent surveys, students lag far behind in mathematics in their Class X board exams, with scores much below the average expectations. So, to overcome this, academicians are adopting other ways to get their students become more math-savvy. This has led to a rise in Vedic math centres, as well as the number of people enrolling for these classes.
Revolving around the basis of the ancient Indian teachings called Veda, this method helps simplify arithmetic and algebraic equations. Vedic instructors say that they have seen a 50 per cent increase in enrollment in the last few months. Sagar Sakordekar, a Vedic math instructor, says, “Schools too are incorporating Vedic math as a side study in the form of short duration courses.” Another instructor, Rohit Chopra, adds, “Mathematics is a subject in which you can score cent per cent. Vedic math teaches you useful techniques to solve sums, which prove beneficial in today’s competitive academic curriculum.”

Is this an easier way of learning?
“Almost 99 per cent of students who come to me are scared of maths,” Rohit tell us, “They are good in other subjects, including general knowledge and language skills. But I don’t know what happens to them when it comes to math.” The fear is usually irrational, opine instructors. “When we learnt math in School, we did it with the aim of passing the subject. It wasn’t to explore a vocation where math would be a subject of interest,” says Roweno Diniz, who is currently working with a nationalised bank, “There are methods through which you can derive your answer faster, and that is what competitive exams are about. However, we learn it in a long drawn manner in school, where marks are allotted for each step. Some of the questions asked at competitive exams are so basic that even a Class X student can solve the paper. But I found it hard until I came across Vedic math, which helped me clear the exams.”

Pratik Salkar, who works with a bank, says that the old Indian method is definitely easier even when it comes to difficult equations involving square roots, etc. “That’s how I managed to clear my exams for the bank job. I didn’t really understand much of what I learnt in school. This method enabled me to do calculations mentally and more easily.”
What schools and colleges have to say
Dr Prasanna Kumar, head of Department of Mathematics at a popular college, says, “Vedic math has several short cut methods which helps solving problems, but I don’t think anything can change the mathematical skills of a student drastically, apart from training teachers by strengthening the methodology of teaching.” Poonam Mehandiratta, a math teacher, says, “A lot of children are weak with their math because their foundation, from say classes V to VII, in the subject is not strong. Vedic math helps in minimising calculations.”

Are we losing out on jobs in the financial sphere?
Is the mathematical block affecting students’ career choices? Rohit says, “Many, I feel, lose out on job opportunities in the banking and finance sector. At examinations like Banking Personnel Selection Tests, Common Entrance Tests and other banking and insurance exams, you require math to solve sums. When the foundation of a person is not strong, they are at a disadvantage. The speed at which you solve your equations is also vital in a competitive exam, and if you do your calculations on fingers, I don’t know how much progress one can make.”