Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the media both here and in Pretoria.
I would like to start off by acknowledging my colleagues from the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) whose passion and dedication to the subject of mathematics has grown our local Olympiad by record numbers across South African Schools and consistently make us proud.
I would also like to acknowledge representatives of the key sponsors of this event who consistently support educational initiatives through various CSI projects and we are happy to have their support in this project, namely Google, SABC Education, Sasol, SANRAL and the Telkom Foundation.
We are extremely excited to be hosting the International Mathematics Olympiad, in our beautiful country. We view it as an honor to have this prestigious contest of exceptional talent on our shores for the first time.
The DBE has prioritized mathematics as we recognize the importance of excellence in this particular subject as it has a major impact on the developmental objectives of the country and the economy. We are working to improve not only enrollment of learners in Mathematics in South Africa, but also learner outcomes in this crucial subject, events like this help to create enthusiasm around mathematics.
South Africa’s quality of education, especially in Maths, Science and Technology (MST) does require attention; however we have made great strides in out effort to make improvements.
We went to further to appoint a task team consisting of experts in the field to advise the Department on how we can best address the challenges. We are making progress in implementing the recommendations that were presented to us and are confident that these measures will have an even greater impact on learner outcomes in the not too distant future.
In addition to our own national assessments, which have no parallel anywhere in the world, we also participate in many regional and international studies to benchmark our performance.
We are thrilled therefore to be working with the SAMF on initiatives like this one that inspire enthusiasm around mathematics.
We do believe that it is important for learners to enjoy mathematics, and this Olympiad gives participants a unique opportunity to broaden their mathematics horizons and compete against the very best in the world.
These competitions are usually the privilege of developed countries and awaken mathematical talent in many learners.
The problems in a mathematics competition such as this one, are more demanding than the routine exercises of the classroom, so they will challenge even the brightest minds.
The International Mathematics Olympiad is perceived by some as the world cup of Mathematics, and we are hoping that by hosting this esteemed event we will create enthusiasm around mathematics and inspire our future engineers, accountants, doctors, teachers, and inventors.
I was overjoyed to see the uptake of learners who entered the South African Mathematics Olympiad in record numbers with a total of 81 578 learners from 1031 schools across the country taking part.
This year we saw 199 schools participate that had previously never done so. This is an encouraging trend that I am confident will continue to improve with the success of the international event being held in our country, a first for the African continent.
We are looking forward to monitoring the progress of our South African team and we will be supporting them throughout the competition as well as the other African countries participating.
We wish all those taking part in the upcoming event the very best of luck, and hope they will all thoroughly enjoy the competition.
Enquiries: Troy Martens 079 899 3070