Maths Olympiad growing in numbers

Cleo Paulsen,12, from Portland Primary School at the Maths Olympiad.

Thirty-eight schools took part in a Maths Olympiad hosted by Spine Road High School on Saturday March 11.

Principal Riyaadh Najaar said this was the fifth year the school hosted the competition, which has grown yearly.

He said the aim of the Olympiad is to encourage pupils to take an interest in maths and to love the subject.

“Our objective is to get pupils to recognise the importance of maths and create excitement for problem solving. We also want to get a sense of competition among pupils and challenge them to solve as many maths problems in a short period of time.”

Mr Najaar said most of the schools which took part were from Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha.

He said for the past three years Portand Primary School has won the first place trophy because their pupils worked hard and were focused on the task at hand.

The Olympiad takes the form of a multiple-choice test and includes general knowledge.

“We need to inform our pupils that with maths and science you have access to lucrative jobs in our country. Maths is extremely important and can open many doors,” said Mr Najaar.

West End Primary School’s maths teacher Wilhench Steenkamp said it was important for pupils to take part in competitions such as the Olympiad.

“We take part in the Olympiad every year and the pupils get really excited. We select the top 10 pupils in Grade 7 and allow them to compete. Maths is an important subject. It helps you think critically and you can use maths in just about any aspect in life,” he said.

Zahier Larney, 12, from Alpine Primary School, said he enjoyed the Olympiad and prepared well for it. “The Olympiad wasn’t that easy, but it was fun. Before the competition I had to go through my work and do some studying. I like maths because it is interesting and makes you think outside the box,” he said.

The results of the winning schools will be announced on Tuesday March 28. Winners will include the top five schools, top 10 pupils and top pupil of every school.