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The etymology of the term mathematics (mathematikos) points to two Greek words, mathema and manthanein, indexing a science and to learn respectively. Subsequently, mathematics has been defined as the study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols (Collins). More broadly, mathematics is the study or use of numbers and shapes to calculate, represent or describe things (Oxford). Distilling from the definitions above is the incontrovertible argument that mathematics is essential to reasoning.
Reasoning is critical to the advancement of any society. Underwood Dudley in a paper entitled “What is mathematics for?” argues that society cannot do without mathematics. He further notes that mathematics is the best way to learn how to reason, and that is its purpose, not to find jobs. Little wonder than the WeUSeMath.org concludes that math leads to purpose, opportunities and success.
Key words: mathematics, history, reasoning, Africa