The UKZN chapter of the Siyanqoba Maths Training Programme got off to a great start recently when 153 learners from 27 schools competed for selection into the programme by writing a test.
There was a test for competitors in Grades 7-9 and another for those in Grades 10-11.
The programme forms part of the Department of Science and Technology (DST)-funded initiative in collaboration with the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF).
The olympiad training programme is an outreach project for high school students throughout the country who show particular ability and interest in mathematics. It covers enrichment material which is not found in the school curriculum and aims to improve South Africa’s international competitiveness in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science and Guest of Honour, Professor Delia North, addressed learners encouraging them to take advantage of every opportunity that came their way during the course of their studies. She also thanked members of the School who helped to administer the important outreach project.
Professor Poobhalan Pillay, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics in the School, and local co-ordinator of the programme, said between 80 and 100 learners would be trained for the first round of the South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) to be held in March.
He said since 2011, UKZN had been one of eight South African tertiary institutions which was part of this national initiative. During this period, six learners who trained at UKZN reached the top 10 in the country - a laudable achievement as more than 80 000 learners participate each year in the SAMO Round 1.