Fear has been implicated as one of the major causes of poor performance rate in Mathematics among primary school pupils. And it is against this backdrop that the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges, NTIC, in partnership with National Mathematics Center, NMC, decided to rekindle hope through the institution of the Annual National Mathematics Competition for pupils in primary 5 and 6 classes.
The place of mathematics in virtually all human endeavors cannot be downplayed. This explains why government attaches premium to the subject in the academic curriculum, added to the fact that it is one of the compulsory subjects offered at both primary and post-primary levels.
Unfortunately, not many pupils and students alike seem to be in good terms with mathematics for reasons bordering on phobia.
It is for this reason, among others, NTIC and NMC initiated, in 2003, the Annual National Mathematics competition as a strategic scheme aimed at helping students overcome the deep-seated fear of mathematics.
Remarkably, the first round of this year's edition witnessed the participation of no less than 26,500 pupils in the contest, drawn from 26 out of the 36 sates of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory.
Presenting awards to the winners of the first round of this year's edition held recently in Abuja, the Group Managing Director, GMD, of NTIC, Mehmet Basturk, said that since the contest came into being in 2003, primary school pupils no longer felt rattled by mathematics and it has imparted the level of understanding of the subject in secondary schools as evidenced in the excellent performance of students in their Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE).
Represented by the Deputy Group Managing Director, Sabril Unal, the GMD underscored the importance of mathematics in relation to all other science subjects.
"We believe Mathematics is a key subject and if a person is successful in mathematics, the person will also do well in sciences, we have noticed that primary school pupils have a higher phobia rate for Mathematics, we decided to use the competition to encourage them and also motivate them in the subject," he said.
Highlighting the order of the awards, Basturk said that N150,000 cash reward and other benefits would be given to winners and their teachers respectively. The best 8 pupils from each zone will enjoy 100 percent scholarship both in tuition and boarding facilities in Turkish Colleges, while others will enjoy varying levels of scholarships. Then from 8th position downward, they will enjoy different percentages of scholarships, ranging from 70 per cent, 80 percent boarding, among others."
On his part, the Director and Chief Executive Officer of National Mathematics Center, Prof. Adewale Solarin, said a lot of effort and resources have been committed towards unraveling mathematics for primary school pupils, and that the positive impact of this commitment was beginning to manifest.
"A lot of has been accomplished by NTIC. We have spent a lot of resources, time and energy and we are seeing the impact. Every now and then we see beautiful performances by students and all their presentations".
Stressing the importance of mathematics and its pivotal role in the attainment of Nigeria's vision 20-20 -20 development plans, Solarin, who was represented at the occasion by Steve Oluwaniyi, Head of Olympiad, NMC, called on other schools to take a cue from the NTIC's trail blazing example.
Published on Vanguard Nigeria, 26 March 2015, Thursday