At the occasion of International Day of Mathematics popularly known as Pi-Day, the University of Rwanda, department of Mathematics, has awarded fifteen students who excelled in Rwanda Mathematics Competition.
The events was held at the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology (UR-CST), June 16.
Organized by the University of Rwanda (UR) in its Mathematics Department the competition aims to identify, encourage, and challenge mathematically gifted young students across country’s secondary schools, from the district level up to national level.
The national winners hail from Ecole des sciences Byimana, Ecole Secondaire Gishoma, Minor seminary St Leon Kabgayi, Lycée de Kigali, Minor Seminary St Vincent, Lycée Notre-Dame de Cîteaux, Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology and Ecole des Sciences de Musanze.
The top three took home a gold medal, cash prizes of Rwf 100,000 respectively, and certificates of outstanding achievement.
The following six winners were awarded a Silver medal and Rwf 80,000 respectively while remaining six winners were bestowed a Bronze medal and an envelope of Rwf 60,000 each.
Teachers and parents who accompanied the students at the event have expressed their gratitude for the competition.
“We are now motivated to work even harder to prepare more children so as to keep our first place safe,” Alex Mushimiyimana mathematics teacher at Ecole des Sciences Byimana said.
He went on to say that the secret to their success was team work and hard work.
“We worked very hard to have more children in international competitions and the feedback is encouraging. In addition, it also motivated their peers; their colleagues are also eager to participate next time.”
Although the results of the competition are good, Alex said that secondary mathematics teachers also need training to keep up with the current pace of science, so that the results are better even in international competitions.
Dr. Celestin Kurujyibwami, the Coordinator of the competition at national level, revealed how fruitful this competition is.
“So far, the children have learned the importance of mathematics and they now love it more,” said Dr. Kurujyibwami adding: “The children who participated in these competitions have reached an interesting level because there are 5 students who got international scholarships.”
He goes on to say that their goal is to engage girls in studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“Girls are more and more daring to study sciences, as is our goal,” he said.
On the future of this competition, Dr. Kurujyibwami said that they have a plan to go to rural areas and reach non-boarding schools and to encourage them to also participate.
He said: “We want to go from 2,000 students who participated in the competition this year to 5,000 students next year”
After officiating an award ceremony of the winners, Dr. Raymond Ndikumana, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Strategic planning and Administration at the University of Rwanda (UR), thanked the teachers who prepared them for the incredible work they are doing.
He said, “I am very grateful to the primary and secondary school teachers, because they made us who we are today.”
“Mathematics everywhere and for everyone, thank you for the organizers of the competition. You are helping students to become mathematicians,” said Dr. Ndikumana.
He went on to say that mathematics is the essence of life because it is the language spoken in the same way all over the world.
“I also grew up loving math,” he said, encouraging children to love mathematics because it opens up the mind, and makes critical thinking grow.
This worldwide annual event, established by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is celebrated on March 14.
It was globally celebrated as Pi-Day since 1988 up to 2018 where it changed to International Day of Mathematics.
Under the theme, “Mathematics for Everyone,” the day was organized by the University of Rwanda in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), the Swedish Embassy, the Eastern Africa Universities Mathematics Programme (EAUMP_UR Node), and the International Center for Theoretical Physics (EAIFR-ICTP-Kigali).