NTIC, NMC in 21 Years Continue to Cure Maths Phobia

NTIC, NMC in 21 Years Continue to Cure Maths Phobia

Students recently sat for a mathematics examination organised by the National Mathematics Centre (NMC) and Nigerian Tulip International Colleges across Nigeria to build a future for themselves and to show that there is nothing to fear from the subject, report Michael Olugbode

In each of the last 21 years, students from across the country gathered to write a Mathematics examination organized by the National Mathematics Centre (NMC) and Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) to get a scholarship and position themselves for a better education and greater future. Many who have written the examination in the past with top marks have had a great career and opportunities within and outside the shores of Nigeria for prominent employment.

Though there is a phobia for math among students, it is an important subject needed in essentially many daily tasks. Performing real-life skills like grocery shopping, cooking, and tracking finances is needed every day. What makes math special is that it’s a universal language — a powerful tool with the same meaning across the globe. Though languages divide our world, numbers unite us. Math allows us to work together towards innovations and ideas. Any serious country would not take lightly math development in its students. No wonder the creation of the National Mathematics Centre (NMC) and making mathematics one of the subjects that students should take at both primary and secondary levels of their education; even a branch of mathematics, statistics and quantitative analysis is important for students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Even with the phobia, it is instructive that no one can run away from mathematics, whether in school or the large space of society. 

To build interest in mathematics and subsequently place Nigeria on the trajectory of development and group, the NTIC and NMC, in the last 21 years, have been organizing the Annual National Mathematics Competition (ANMC) across Nigeria. 

This year was no exception as students in Primary 5, 6 to JSS 1, II, and III gathered at 35 centres in 30 states to compete for scholarships to study at the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) and subsequently an opportunity to get a scholarship to study within and outside the country.

The students and their parents were all beaming with hope that the competition was a foundation for a great future.

While commending the organisers, one of the parents, Omotayo Rubangs, said the competition had built interest in mathematics in many children in Nigeria, noting that his son (Daniel) has had to prepare for the competition consistently. She said she would be happy if he is among those selected, for it would offer him an opportunity to further improve in his first love, mathematics and create a path to great things happening to him.

The participating students Jane Anemelu and Nedum Great, speaking on their preparedness and expectations, said they have had to be coached for extra hours by their teachers for the examinations, which won’t do, especially as there are prizes slated to be won by teachers and schools too based on the performance of students. Both Jane and Nedum and many other students said they believe the top prizes are theirs.

Some of the top performers passed the competition and are now on full scholarship at NTIC, among them Festus Nwakuche of Pyramid Learning Academy, Anambra State, Ifunanya Nwanegbo of Mabel Divine International Science, Anambra, Isioma Iduh of Asagba Primary School, Asaba, Delta and Luis Lu of Kerridale Preparatory School, Port Harcourt, Rivers said the scholarship had offered them great opportunities and have further built their capability in math, they said they are given extra tuition that has enabled them to participate and win at local and international math competition, they all said they are ready to go for courses in mathematics and mathematics related fields.

Speaking on the competition, the Managing Director of NTIC, Mr Fevzullah Bilgin, said: “Apart from winning prizes at ANMC, we hope that the competition will ignite the passion for various inspiration and innovation in the field of mathematics and other sciences in the heart of the young ones. We look forward to them fulfilling their dreams in their chosen fields and careers.”

He explained that it was a maths examination in Nigeria, a national competition for primary 5 and 6 pupils and junior secondary school students. This is a competition that NTIC organises in collaboration with the National Mathematics Centre (NMC). The importance of this competition and mathematics is that in today’s society, we need intelligent people who have high problem-solving skills, are creative, and have leadership skills and studying mathematics makes these students more intelligent and make them have a high level of problem-solving skills and these things allow for students to be more successful and enhanced. 

Bilgin noted that NTIC and NMC collaborated to organise this competition, and ANMC to achieve this. We have been doing that in Nigeria for 21 years. 

“So, for 21 years, the students in different schools in Nigeria have been preparing for this competition and have been sitting for it. This competition has a robust history and is the largest in the country. I can tell you that ANMC has been helping students in different schools; hundreds of schools and thousands of students have been taking this examination, and it is demystifying mathematics,” stated Bilgin. “It is helping the students learn and study and become successful in mathematics. As a result, it is a veritable contribution to mathematics education and academics overall in Nigeria.”

He explained that NTIC is the sponsor and organiser of this competition and, of course, the valuable contribution of NMC cannot be underestimated. It is important, and they are doing a lot to bring it to this level. Our biggest contribution to this competition is not in the organisation but what comes after it. This is the scholarship programme that we are having. Thousands of students take part in the competition, and every year, we give full scholarships to 32 students until graduation from SS3. I can tell you that 144 students are currently benefiting from this competition. This is a great investment for Nigeria’s future. It is an open competition for any school and student in the country. We have been organizing for 21 years, and today is the first round; thousands of students from 27 different states in Nigeria are participating in the competition and in April, we are going to have our second round; successful students from the first round will come to compete for the second round. At the end of the second round, top students would qualify for the scholarship. There are also some monetary prizes for the successful students and their teachers and prizes for the schools like computers, photocopiers and printers. It is incentivising mathematics for the students, the teachers and the schools.”

On the impact of the competition and scholarship, he said: “I had a student who came for the competition, and he graduated in 2012, and he was given admission into MIT with a scholarship, and he went there and became one of the best-graduating students with 4 out 4 GPA, after graduation, he was given employment in Google Canada, he is there to this day. A girl was given a scholarship in Kano. She came and graduated and was given admission into Uthman Dan Fodio University. She studied mathematics there and was the best graduating student at the university. As a female student, she broke the university’s 42-year record and was given a scholarship to a university in the US because of her success. She also got 4 out of 4, the best GPA, so she was given a scholarship to Florida University for her PhD. If not for her initial scholarship, she could not have grown.

The competition has also attracted various personalities with excellent knowledge of mathematics from different schools, cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions.

The Assistant Coordinator of the Abuja Centre of the Competition (Nigerian Tulip International School, Wuse), Shahbaz Malik, revealed that the primary objective of ANMC is to test the students’ problem-solving and mathematical reasoning abilities. It provides young mathematicians from all over the country opportunities to compete in challenging mathematical problems, building their confidence and love for mathematics. He added that the competition also offers scholarship awards.

He explained that ANMC comprises two rounds of problem-solving. Qualifiers from the two geo-political zones will proceed to the second round of the competition. The top-performing students will receive cash prizes, scholarships, and other awards in the second round. The teachers and schools of the qualifiers in the second round will also receive prizes. He added that the winners will have access to full tuition fee scholarship opportunities at Nigerian Tulip International Colleges.

Win or lose, the preparation for the examination has built interest in the students, chased the phobia of mathematics away, and equally sown the seeds of confidence and achievability in young students and set the nation on a trajectory of development. Who says that NTIC and NMC are not contributing anything of worth to Nigeria?

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