TRADITIONAL COUNTING SYSTEMS OF MELANESIA ON NEW DATABASE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 2, 2001 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---Traditional counting systems of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, West Papua and Northern Territory (Australia) will now be accessible to researchers, students and ordinary citizens.

This has been made possible by Papua New Guinea's University of Goroka, which has opened a rare ethno-mathematics center. It is believed to be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

The center was named after an ethno-mathematician, the late Dr. Glen Tolele Angove Lean, who spent about 22 years as a lecturer at the University of Technology in Lae.

Dr. Lean had done extensive research, analyzed and assembled an enormous collection of indigenous counting systems, which now forms the initial database for the center.

University of Goroka Acting Vice Chancellor Joseph Kata said the university has a responsibility to set up such centers of research for knowledge through teaching, research, seminars, conferences and publications.

Mr. Kata said the university also aims to promote PNG’s and the southwest Pacific's unique cultural heritage that includes languages arts, beliefs, practices and the natural environment.

"The ethno-mathematics center is one such avenue that will promote and enhance the advancement of our indigenous knowledge, especially the counting system in mathematics," Mr. Kata said.

He said that during his research, Dr Lean collected and analyzed some 1,500 counting systems of PNG and the Oceania region.

The center was opened by a high profile ethno-mathematician, Professor Geoffrey Saxe, of the University of California at Berkeley in the USA.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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