The UKZN chapter of the Siyanqoba Maths Training Programme for mathematically gifted high school pupils got off to a great start when 81 learners from 17 schools competed for selection into the programme by writing a test.
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.
Professor Poobhalan Pillay, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at UKZN and local co-ordinator of the programme, as well as national academic co-ordinator, addressed learners and encouraged them to take advantage of every opportunity that came their way during the course of their studies.
Pillay said that along with returning students from previous years, about 105 learners would be trained for the first round of the South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) in March.
Since 2011, UKZN had been one of eight South African tertiary institutions which is part of this national initiative. During this period, five learners who trained at UKZN have reached the top 10 in the country – a laudable achievement as more than 80 000 learners participate each year in the SAMO Round 1, with 106 000 participants in 2018.
Words: Sally Frost