At GBTI, we’re always sorry to see summer go. The good news is that September brings so much to look forward to! Not only are we commemorating Indigenous Heritage Month, a national event in Guyana since 1995, we’re also excited to be hosting our first ever Mathematics Olympiad in celebration of Education Month. Read on to learn more about this unique event.
What is the Mathematics Olympiad?
Geared toward students in grades 9 and 10, the Mathematics Olympiad is an online Mathematics competition designed to help students test their academic skills and prepare for upcoming examinations. The Olympiad takes the form of a two-round competition.
For the first round, registered students participate online, answering a set number of math questions within a designated timeframe. When this round is complete, the top five students from each grade are selected to participate in a live round held at the Arthur Chung Convention Center.
Friends and family members are encouraged to attend the live round to support their budding mathematicians! In recognition of their hard work and achievement, winners in the second round receive tablets as prizes.
Who runs the Mathematics Olympiad?
The 2019 Mathematics Olympiad is a collaboration between GBTI and BrainCentral, an online educational portal. It is designed to provide a comprehensive, online environment where students can get help with the subjects they study in school.
The BrainCentral platform offers more than 40,000 questions and hundreds of timed quizzes from the primary to the tertiary educational levels, all drawn from a range of local, regional, and international sources. Students can use these questions and quizzes as study material. It can be used to help them prepare for assessments such as the National Grade Six Assessment and the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council exams.
The BrainCentral platform is an integral part of the Mathematics Olympiad. However, students who are not participating in the competition can also take advantage of BrainCentral’s many benefits.
In addition to questions and quizzes, the platform offers live tutorials, recorded sessions, chat rooms and discussion forums, and real-time marking. This way, students can easily see where they’re having difficulty and what study areas they need to focus on. And of course, because the portal is entirely online, students can access it round-the-clock from their own homes or schools.
What are the benefits of the Mathematics Olympiad?
It’s certainly fair to say that math isn’t always a favorite subject for all young students. However, building and honing math skills is a very important part of children’s educational development. Interestingly, early math skills are a strong predictor of later academic success. Studies have shown that early math skills are linked with higher rates of college enrollment as well as with creative contributions and leadership in pivotal occupational roles later in life.
Math helps young people build their logical and critical thinking capabilities, reasoning skills, and mental organization. A good understanding of math opens up continuing education and career opportunities. Math is also fundamental to essential life skills like budgeting and financial planning.
The Mathematics Olympiad can hopefully help make math fun for the students who choose to participate. The atmosphere of a friendly competition, plus the chance to win great prizes, can go a long way toward making math tests seem more enjoyable and less intimidating.
Participating in the Olympiad is also a good way for students to get a sense of how they might perform in a real-life examination situation without the same pressure. In other words, it’s a useful trial run for the upcoming tests they’ll soon be taking. This can help them feel more prepared and confident.
How can events like the Mathematics Olympiad help boost education in Guyana?
The Government of Guyana firmly believes that education is the key to national development. In 2019, the country allocated $52.2 billion to the education sector (a 15 percent increase from the amount allocated by the national budget).
In a speech given at the launch of Education Month 2019, Guyana’s Minister of Education Nicolette Henry applauded this important investment in education. Minister Henry particularly praised the government’s efforts to bridge the gap in education quality between the densely populated coastal region and the more remote hinterlands. Minister Henry also praised the country’s teachers, education officers, and ministry staff for the strong commitment and dedication that has helped Guyana’s education sector perform so well in recent years.
Outside the formal education system, events like the Mathematics Olympiad have an important role to play in advancing education in Guyana. By helping students build their knowledge and preparing them to do well in upcoming examinations, the Olympiad is contributing to their academic success.
In addition, the BrainCentral platform itself may have a further contribution to make to education in Guyana. According to BrainCentral CEO Lance Hinds, the company is in talks with the Ministry of Education to integrate the platform and open it up to even more students.