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Kiambu Schools Enlist for Mathematics Olympiad Contest

Three hundred and ten (310) registered schools countrywide have today undertaken the Kenya Mathematical Olympiad 2023 organized by the Centre for Mathematics Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA)

In Kiambu, 11 schools registered for the contest which is geared towards a critical role in development of thinking skills, creative problem solving with the overall goal to help create positive attitude towards Math among learners as well as help improve performance in Mathematics.

Speaking at Ngenia Secondary Schools, in Limuru Kiambu which is one of the schools that registered for the contest, John Oyuga from CEMASTEA said many times students pursuing subjects at university level have been missing out because of the performance at secondary school.

“With mathematics being key  in all faculties and careers requiring Mathematics to be applied,  this is the reason we are promoting this contest  although we cannot say Kenyan is badly off . we are actually we are good”, he said.

Oyuga noted that they want to build a pool of critical thinkers, want to encourage and motivate students so that they just do not look at producing  but are open to critical thinking beyond just calculating.

The contest , he added will see the overall winners register for another Olympiad and proceed to another level where they will compete with others from outside the country internationally and this one he explained picks the winners from round three.

“ The selected teams will be trained in preparation for a more challenging regional and international contest, so we will  have to take them through some more training on applications and not just calculation”, Oyuga said

Ngenia High School Principal Paul Waruterre said CEMASTEA and our learning institutions have done a tremendous job of capacity building teachers in both Mathematics and Sciences which has come a long way in enabling the teachers to deliver their core mandate.

“When it comes to learners, the teachers are able to give them quality skills and it is a big plus to our learning institutions as far as performance of sciences and mathematics is concerned”, he added.

He explained that most of the teachers have undergone the in-service training and therefore there is that very direct impact on institutions but of great importance is that the learners are able to go through the sciences in a much-demystified manner that makes the understanding and comprehending of the concepts much easier.

For the Kenya Mathematical Olympiad, the Principal said his school has a strong team of 50 students from form 1, 2 , 3 and four that are representing.

Through such kind of activity , Warutere  said, is where the students compete with other learners from other institutions within the country and this in turn boosts their morale , encourages and motivates them to work even harder.

Students undertaking the CEMASTEA mathematical contest today. Over 310 schools are participating in the contest, Kiambu is represented by 11 schools who registered.

“I am sure that the final analysis will see the young students register improvement. Sciences and Mathematics are being embraced by our learners and that traditional mentality that they are difficult subjects or out of this world has seriously changed”, he said

He added that that the boys now walk through the science subjects confidently and as they even graduate to institutes of higher learning, they are taking courses that are science oriented.

“There is definitely a paradigm shift from the preferred subjects like humanities, technical subjects and languages. Science is now competing favorably well”, Warutere said

Mose Bernard, the  head of  Mathematics department in Ngenia high school said  they have been preparing well for the mathematic contest and what  as a school they did was an  internal evaluation where they came up with 100 students from across board of both junior and seniors  and selected 25 best from the junior form 1 and form 2 and another 25 from seniors form 3 and form 4 to participate .

The students, he noted, have taken the exam well  today with some of them saying it was a good paper and  definitely hope to proceed to the second and third round of the contest.

“Mathematics is just another subject, most students however normally have the wrong notion that it’s a hard subject. It is just the attitude. We are fighting that attitude, From form one to four we have seen most of them  changing the attitude once they are engaged”, Mose said .

Kelvin Ngure, a  form three student who was among the 50 students that took on the contest told KNA that they were well prepared  and that he was sure from the results they will receive they will emerge as one of the top schools.

 

‘Personally I love math, it inspires and challenges me. Although some students get intimidated by Math, it is just a notion and attitude which affects performance”, he said .

Ngure said he wants to be a pilot in future and working towards this will require him to major and pass in his sciences which he is doing.

310 schools countrywide undertook the mathematical contest today,  from these number  the top 750 students , 250 juniors and 500 seniors   will be  invited to  round two which will be held  at CEMASTEA regional centers in July of this year  and from the second  round top 50 students will move on the round 3 of the competition in September 2023.

The contest has been categorized in three rounds, round one which was today saw 25 questions completed in 60 minutes and without using calculators, round two will be numerical answer questions  while the third round of  questions will require  a full solution.

The students participating will receive a certificate of participation upon completion while the top students will receive certificates of merit.

The Centre for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA) Olympiad contest is being done in partnership with Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) which is domiciled at University of Waterloo in Canada and University of Nairobi.

By Wangari Ndirangu

 

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