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Empowering Future Mathematicians: Highlights from the Kenya Mathematical Olympiad 2023

Empowering Future Mathematicians: Highlights from the Kenya Mathematical Olympiad 2023

Published in CEMASTEA News Written by  January 19 2024 font size decrease font size increase font size
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By Martin Mungai

The Kenya Mathematical Olympiad (KMO) 2023, organized jointly by CEMASTEA, the University of Nairobi (UON), and the Centre for Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) from the University of Waterloo, marked a significant milestone in promoting mathematical excellence among Kenyan secondary school students. The competition aimed to identify and nurture mathematical talents, providing a platform for students to showcase their skills and passion for mathematics. The foundation for KMO 2023 was laid with a comprehensive virtual training program for teachers in March 2023 that focused on problem-solving methodologies and building teacher capacity for setting problem-solving questions. A team of mathematics experts from the University of Waterloo, including Prof. Ian Vanderburg and Hon. Wesley Korir, the Director and Strategic Advisor on Africa Initiative to the Director of CEMC, led the training. 

Mrs. Jacinta Akatsa, CEO CEMASTEA, led the organizing team for KMO in Kenya 2023; Prof. Stephen Luketero and Dr James Katende from UON; Martin Mungai, the coordinator of the organizing team; Nancy Nui, dean Mathematics at CEMASTEA; and Mrs Beatrice Macharia, the coordinator of the special programs and student learning and Mary Sichangi Coordinator of Partnerships and Linkages at CEMASTEA. The Olympiad run in three rounds, which resulted in the continuous elimination of learners. The process involved learners doing a test that was collaboratively prepared by collaboratively prepared by CEMC, UON, and CEMASTEA. About 8000 learners participated in the first round, out of which 762 high-performing students emerged, earning their spots in Round II. 

While teachers were in charge of round one, CEMASTEA and UON staff administered and supervised round two. This further narrowed the pool from 762 students to 64, who once again demonstrated exceptional aptitude. They were selected to progress to Round III. Round III was conducted in 22 centres, with students virtually monitored as they tackled the challenging test. CEMASTEA oversaw the meticulous marking process, resulting in the identification of 24 students who exhibited exemplary performance. These students were then invited to the CEMASTEA campus for an intensive residential training program.

Global Appeal and the Road Ahead

From the residential training, six outstanding students were selected to represent Kenya at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held at the University of Bath in the UK in June. Six other students were also chosen to participate in the Pan African Mathematical Olympiad (PAMO) in South Africa. In comparison, 12 students earned the opportunity to represent the country at the East African Mathematical Olympiad (EAMO) later in the year. The success of KMO 2023 showcased the dedication of students, educators, and organizers to elevate the standards of mathematical education in Kenya. As the echoes of this achievement reverberate, KMO 2024 is already underway, with participants displaying a heightened enthusiasm to test their mettle and contribute to the legacy of mathematical excellence in the nation. The Kenya Mathematical Olympiad continues to inspire aspiring mathematicians, fostering a love for the subject and shaping the future of mathematical education in the country

Students from Pangani Girls, Nairobi during the Kenya mathematics Olympiad competition at Nairobi School

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