Schools invited to sign up in math programmes

The South African Mathematics Foundation recently announced plans to offer a wide range of mathematical programmes targeted at improving the maths skills of primary and high school pupils.

Schools across South Africa are invited to sign up for participation in the maths programmes offered by the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF).

The foundation last week announced its 2022 mathematics programmes. In a press statement released by SAMF, the foundation stated how the programmes offer learner development and teacher enrichment for all primary and high schools nationwide.

Programme sponsors include Old Mutual, NESTLÉ NESPRAY, the South African Institute for Chartered Accounting (SAICA) and the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA).

“The Foundation aims to create a mathematically enabling environment,” explains Professor Kerstin Jordaan, Executive Director at SAMF and Mathematics Research Associate at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

“An environment which provides opportunities for all learners to develop to their fullest potential.”

The SAMF programmes are open to all schools in South Africa and neighbouring countries. Schools that rely wholly on the government for funding – known as Quintile 1 and 2 schools – can register their learners free of charge.

Quintile 3, 4 and 5 schools as well as private schools pay a nominal registration fee. For the first time, schools will have an option to write the first rounds of both competitions online.

The Foundation’s flagship competitions are the Old Mutual South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) for high schools and the NESTLÉ NESPRAY South African Mathematics Challenge (SAMC) for primary schools.These contests occur over three rounds: the first in March, the second in May, and the third and final in July (SAMO) and August (SAMC).

“We encourage mathematics teachers to register everyone in their classes from Grade 4 to Grade 12 for the upcoming competitions,” says Patrick Rasehwete, Project Manager for the Challenge.

“One does not have to be excellent at mathematics to participate. The purpose of participation is to develop a learner’s spatial awareness and logical thinking; skills that anyone can master through practice.”

The SAMF learner development programmes also aim to create opportunities for global interaction and competitiveness. Learners who performed well in the 2021 high school Olympiad stand a chance to represent South Africa in the Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) and the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).

These international competitions happen annually in March and July, respectively. In addition, the SAMF could also invite top Olympiad performers to attend the prestigious mathematics training camps to help prepare learners for international participation.

“In 2022, the Foundation plans to encourage South African schools and universities to participate in two well-known international competitions,” explains Professor Jordaan.

“These include the Kangaroo Competition for children and the Simon Marais Mathematics Competition (SMMC) for undergraduates and gifted Grade 12s. We want to help create a culture of mathematics in South Africa and that means we must do as much as a non-profit organisation can do.”

Registration for the SAMC and SAMO will open in January 2022. Parents who want to register their children must reach out to the school’s mathematics teacher.

The entry forms will be available on Registrations for the Olympiad closes on 21 February 2022 and for the Challenge on 24 February 2022. For more information, send an email to

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