Professor Mohamed El-Amin Ahmed El-Tom

Mohamed El-Amin Ahmed El-Tom, also known as Muhammad Al-Amin Al-Tom, is a distinguished Sudanese mathematician and the inaugural Minister of Education following the Sudanese Revolution, serving from 2019 to 2022. Throughout his tenure, El-Tom spearheaded various initiatives aimed at enhancing education in Sudan, notably championing a comprehensive plan for the sector. However, his tenure was not without controversy, particularly surrounding the inclusion of Michelangelo’s renowned painting, “The Creation of Adam,” in Sudanese school textbooks. This decision sparked opposition from conservative Muslim factions, citing its perceived inconsistency with Islamic beliefs.
Mohamed El-Amin Ahmed El-Tom was born in October 1941. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with first-class honors from the University of Leeds in 1965. Subsequently, he pursued a Diploma in Advanced Mathematics at the University of Oxford, specializing in areas such as Numerical Analysis, Functional Analysis, Group Theory, and Commutative Algebra. In 1969, El-Tom completed his Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) under the supervision of David Christopher Handscomb.
Following his academic pursuits, El-Tom embarked on a distinguished academic career. He held various positions, including junior and senior scholar roles at the University of Khartoum, where he played a pivotal role in establishing the Mathematical Sciences School. He also served as a research fellow at the Center de Calcul, University of Louvain, Belgium. El-Tom’s expertise led him to teaching positions at the University of Ulster and Columbia University, as well as roles at prestigious institutions such as the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) and Qatar University.
El-Tom’s academic contributions span a wide range of topics, including integration convergence, approximations, interpolation, and the state of mathematics education in Sudan, Islamic countries, Africa, and North America. He has published over 50 papers and chaired international conferences focused on developing mathematics in third-world countries.
Following the Sudanese Revolution, El-Tom was nominated by the Sudanese Teachers Committee and the Northern Entity Alliance to lead the Ministry of Education due to his patriotism and professional expertise. As Minister, El-Tom initiated significant reforms aimed at prioritizing education spending, implementing free education, and modernizing the educational infrastructure. He introduced initiatives such as an e-learning management system and virtual teacher training programs, along with measures to improve teacher salaries and school facilities.
El-Tom’s tenure as Minister of Education was marked by controversy, particularly regarding proposed changes to school curricula. The inclusion of Michelangelo’s painting in textbooks sparked a heated debate, leading to the resignation of the Director of Curricula, Omar Al-Qarai. El-Tom faced further scrutiny over his exclusion from the new cabinet formation by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, citing a purported “security check” failure. Despite protests and calls for his reinstatement, El-Tom ultimately resigned from his position.
Outside his professional endeavors, El-Tom leads a private life, married with three children. He has been honored with prestigious fellowships and memberships in various academic and scientific organizations, including the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, the African Academy of Sciences, and the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences. In 2021, he was named Sudan’s personality of the year by the Al Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE).