• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

12 Kenyan Students To Participate In 2 Prestigious International Mathematics Contests

Jul 14, 2024
High school students. ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has urged the government to provide a clear road map; post the Covid-19 pandemic.High school students.
Twelve students from Kenyan schools will represent the country at two of the world’s most prestigious Mathematics tournaments.

Six students will participate in the 65th edition of International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), a World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students that is held annually on rotational basis in different countries

This year’s event will be held from 11 July 2024 to 22 July 2024 at University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and will have participants from over 100 countries from North America, Europe and Asia, with countries like Canada, USA, China, India, and South Korea represented.

While making the announcement, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) National Trainer in charge of Coding Mr Martin Mungai also indicated that 6 other Kenyan students will compete in the 37th Pan African Mathematics Olympiad that will be hosted at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in South Africa from August 10, 2024 to August 20, 2024.

In an interview with Kenya News Agency the CEMASTEA National Trainer indicated that the over 1,000 students who will participate in the two contests will be tested in various topics, including Algebra, Geometrics, Calculus, number theory, combinatorics, and advanced problem-solving techniques.

Mr Mungai explained that the 12 students were best overall in this year’s Kenya Mathematics Olympiad that is organised annually from 2022 by CEMASTEA in partnership with the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing from the University of Waterloo Canada and the University of Nairobi.

While noting that a further 24 Kenyan students had participated in the Second edition of the East African Mathematical Olympiad that was organized by the Uganda Mathematical Society and took place on April 24, 2024, the National trainer stated that the competitions offer Kenyan students an opportunity to interact with some of the world’s most talented and ‘smartest’ mathematicians.

“Participating in such an event is a thought provoking, challenging and motivating experience. It not only raises the students’ profiles for future career advancement but could also be an advantage for those aiming to join Ivy League universities such as Harvard,” he stated.

During the first round of Kenya Mathematics Olympiad which was held in May this year, 258 students from form 1 and 2 countrywide were selected in the junior category after attaining the 116 cutoff points in a 60 minutes’ mathematics examination.

Another 504 form 3 and 4 students were selected in the senior category whose cutoff mark was 120 points.

Mr Mungai stated that the annual competition aims at improving performance and promoting excellence in Mathematics among high school students in the country.

He said that on the overall, the goal was to create a group of critical thinkers who are able to apply their classroom knowledge when solving real life problems.

“Generally, we are looking into the learners’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We give them questions that have real life application so that they can think mathematically,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we have a learner who doesn’t have a disconnect between the real world and what they are doing in the classroom,” added Mr Mungai.

The students qualify for the second round of the contest if they successfully participate in the first round, before gunning for the third round of the Kenya mathematical Olympiad.

A certificate of participation is offered to all students who participate in the Kenya Mathematics Olympiad while a certificate of merit is granted to the top 50 students, who are thereafter invited to the third round of the contest.

The CEMASTEA official said the contest has boosted students’ ability to solve mathematical problems using critical thinking.

Mr Mungai also pointed out that CEMASTEA, the University of Nairobi (UoN), and the Centre for Mathematics and Computing (CEMC), in a joint partnership, were advocating for improved performance in Mathematics in Kenyan schools, particularly using problem-solving strategies.

“Mathematical problem-solving methods concentrate on teaching students how to use mathematical ideas and critical thinking abilities to solve real-world situations, and this approach promotes a better grasp of the topic and enables students to comprehend the practical importance of mathematics,” he added.

During the competitions, students are barred from using books, notes, calculators or any other computational aids.

“We want more girls to be part of this because the competition is not just about mathematics. It’s also a learning experience that helps one build their self- esteem and confidence,” Mr Mungai added.

To get more students involved, the official asked teachers in various schools to identify students talented in maths, adding that CEMASTEA was also targeting rural and disadvantaged students.

This, he said, will give them an opportunity to interact with some of the most talented students in the subject worldwide.

He added that for vision 2030 to be achieved mathematics and science must be put on the frontline in schools.

“Mathematics will enable the students and the world at large to solve complex challenges they face daily by use of mathematics. We want to ensure students love mathematics and appreciate it as any other course or subject in school. These contests will enable our students and teachers alike to boost their critical thinking,” noted the head trainer.

Mr Mungai also acknowledged that the contests have created cultural integration among Kenyans adding that it has also helped in boosting the morale of students taking part in the Olympiads.

“We must debunk the myth that Maths is a difficult subject among our students if we want to have experts who can analyze and offer correct economic predictions that can help grow our economy. The Kenya Mathematics Olympiad has really assisted our girls to improve in mathematics simply because it’s about application questions, and this contest has really encouraged them to do well,” he indicated.

The first of the International Mathematical Olympiads (IMOs) was held in Romania in 1959. The oldest of the International Science Olympiads, the IMO has since been held annually, except in 1980.

That year, the competition initially planned to be held in Mongolia was cancelled due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) is an annual prestigious event of the African Mathematics Union (AMU) organized each year, since 1987, in an African Country where the best pupils in mathematics of secondary education who are less than twenty (20) years old, are invited to compete. Kenya has hosted PAMO twice in 1991 and 2018.

The East African Mathematical Olympiad is an annual high school mathematics contest targeting the Eastern Africa countries that was inaugurated last year.

Mr Mungai explained that the East African mathematical community came to an understanding that a regional competition would be of crucial value in enhancing appreciation of mathematics as well as a great tool for preparing students for the international Mathematical Olympiad, and finally enabling young contestants to meet and share their passion for the subject.