Schools celebrate Olympiad success

Parkhurst Primary School made second place in the ninth annual Mathematics Olympiad. From left are Ivan Coraizin, principal of Parkhurst Primary; Riyaadh Najaar, former principal of Spine Road High Schooo; Jermaine Grandy, maths teacher at Parkhurst Primary; Layan Ismail, third place winner in Mathematics Olympiad; Faiza Van Breda, head of department for Mathematics and Chanwin Schoeman, maths teacher at Parkhurst Primary.
Imperial Primary School made third place in the Mathematics Olympiad’s ninth annual competition. From left are Moneba Nero, Grade 7 maths teacher; Riyaadh Najaar, former principal of Spine Road High School; Colin Baron, principal of Imperial Primary School and Alfonso Smith, deputy principal of Imperial Primary School.

Pupils and teachers at four Mitchell’s Plain primary schools are celebrating making it into the top five of the ninth annual Mathematics Olympiad.

Parkhurst Primary School in Westridge placed second, while Imperial Primary School in Beacon Valley took third place, Jamaica Primary School in Portland, fourth place and Portland Primary School, fifth place.

The awards for the mathematics Olympiad were delivered to schools last week by former principal of Spine Road High School and founder of the Olympiad, Riyaadh Najaar.

The Mathematics Olympiad was initiated nine years ago with the aim of getting pupils and schools excited about mathematics, to reward schools and pupils who achieve success in mathematics.

More than 800 pupils representing 45 schools took part in this year’s Olympiad, said Zaida Julius, the director of the EduBiz Foundation who partnered with Spine Road High to organise the competition.

Due to the pandemic the format of the Olympiad had to be changed and it was decided that the first round would be held online, with the second round being an in-person sit-down test.

Spine Road High School collaborated with the EduBiz Foundation, who sponsored and developed an online platform and managed the Olympiad on behalf of the school, Ms Julius said.

All participants were issued with usernames and passwords a week before the online Olympiad as well as access to an online pre-test to familiarise themselves with the structure of the online platform.

“As it was the first time for the Olympiad to be done in a blended method, (and) we were very concerned that schools might not participate,” said Ms Julius.

“We were, however, overwhelmed by the interest of both the schools and the pupils. This shows that the pupils, especially from our community schools, are ready to work online,” she added.

The online test went live on Saturday May 29, at 9am. The Olympiad consisted of 50 questions which pupils had to complete in 90 minutes, with results of the online test released to schools a week later.

The nine groups, each group consisting of 10 pupils, with the highest marks participated in the sit-down test in the Spine Road High School hall on Saturday June 19.

“The results were of a very high standard again this year, despite all the challenges that schools and pupils faced. This is a true example of the high mathematics skills that our pupils have and that are not always recognised,” said Fatima Manuels, mathematics teacher at Spine Road High School and head of the mathematics team.

Mr Najaar added: “Despite moving to an online competition, the quality of the Olympiad was not compromised. The interest remained optimum and the excitement speaks volumes for the impact that the Olympiad has made over the years.

“Our pupils and schools need to get more opportunities to compete against each other. The results speak for itself with the majority of the top winning schools being from Mitchell’s Plain.”

Parkhurst Primary School principal Ivan Coraizin said the pupils always got excited about the Mathematics Olympiad.

“This competition has helped our pupils to work hard. It helps to improve their problem-thinking wisdom which is required in other subjects as well as everyday life situations. It also serves as motivation for our younger pupils to aspire to success in the future,” he said.

Layan Ismail, the third place winner, said she had been nervous but very excited as she had worked hard.

“I felt confident after the test because I studied so much. But I wasn’t sure about how I did against the other pupils. I was very proud of myself when I got third place,” she said.

Deputy principal at Imperial Primary Alfonso Smith, said in keeping with their motto, Attain-Maintain, “our pupils have used this platform to challenge themselves as well as each other to cement their individual futures and to bring honour to our school”.

He added: “This year’s online platform posed a great challenge for our pupils, and has highlighted the divide between the haves and the have nots,” he said.

Maths teacher at Imperial Primary School Moneba Nero said Imperial Primary had participated in the Maths Olympiad since its inception, and had consistently placed in the top 3.

Principal at Imperial Primary School, Colin Baron, said they will use their third placing as a launchpad to intensify e-learning at their school and to create greater opportunities for their pupils.

“We look ahead to next year. We wish to congratulate the winning school as well as the runner-up school well. As in life, we teach our pupils to clap when others win. Well done to Bergvliet and Parkhurst,” he said.

• The top 5 schools of the Mathematcs Olympiad

First Prize: Bergvliet Primary School

Second Prize: Parkhurst Primary School

Third Prize: Imperial Primary School

Fourth Prize: Jamaica Primary School

Fifth Prize: Portland Primary School