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Rhodes unearthing Grahamstown’s young Mathematicians
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Rhodes unearthing Grahamstown’s young Mathematicians

Date Released: Thu, 15 February 2018 16:20 +0200

According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2016 results, South Africa’s pupils were ranked second last out of 48 countries for grade 4 mathematics and grade 8 mathematics.

In a bid to stimulate interest in mathematics and contributing towards turning this trend around, Rhodes University will host the 7th annual Rhodes University Mathematics Experience (RUME) on Friday, 16 February 2018 at the Barratt Lecture Theatres.

RUME forms part of the Vice Chancellor’s Education initiative to improve the opportunities for learners in the Grahamstown area to access quality education.

Open to learners from grade 7 to 12, 23 local schools will be attending the event, with a record number of ten primary schools participating this year.

The afternoon kicks off with a mini-Olympiad (a 20-question maths competition) followed by a presentation by guest speaker Dr Phil Collett of the Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Unit at Nelson Mandela University. Winners of the quiz stand to win cash prizes while the top three senior participants will be awarded first-year tuition scholarships from Rhodes University.

“This event, which has an established reputation in mathematics education circles is about solving mathematics problems that require ‘out of the box’ rather than conventional thinking,” said Andrew Stevens, Lecturer at the Rhodes Education Department and chair of the organising committee.

“The annual event is in line with recent policy shifts which have identified the need to improve the quality of the mathematics education in our schools. The day is supported by a group of enthusiastic local teachers who feel that the mathematical talent of local learners needs to be stimulated,” said Joyce Sewry, Deputy Dean in the Science Faculty.

As part of this programme, learners are invited to attend weekly problem-solving sessions at the RU Education Department to help them become better problem solvers and to assist them in participating in mathematical competitions such as the South African Mathematical Olympiad.