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South African children do us proud at PAMA Global Abacus & Mental Arithmetic Championships hosted in South Africa

Jan 25, 2018
South African children do us proud at PAMA Global Abacus & Mental Arithmetic Championships hosted in South Africa

As children around the country get ready to start the 2018 school year, albeit under a cloud of uncertainty as South Africa lags behind on both literacy and numeracy and with the threat of an even lower pass rate and the possibility that maths will be dropped as a compulsory subject, a group of talented children start the year having won international acclaim at the PAMA Global Abacus & Mental Arithmetic Championships which South Africa hosted on the 28th December 2017 in Sandton.

“With seventeen countries represented and with close to 250 children of all ages taking place, it was encouraging to see South African children taking up some of the top spots in all the age categories,” said Marlene Mouton, the Chairperson of PAMA South Africa.  “This was achieved through the efforts of the teachers of the around 620 A+Students teaching franchises who subscribe to the PAMA Global Abacus & Mental Arithmetic methods and to the students who show that maths can be both easy and fun to do.”  Some of the top achievers included:

  • Stiaan Scheepers from A+Students in Rustenburg was South Africa’s Champion of Champions in the Group B 8-9 Age category.
  • In Group C ages 10 – 11 Louis Scheepers took 3rd place with 91% out of 93 students missing the Champions of Champions award by 1.5%.
  • In Group D ages 12 – 14, Ethan Kirstein was placed 2nd out of 53 students missing the Champions of Champions award by 2%.
  • In Group E ages 15+, Zandri Boshoff was a 1st placed winner out of 3 entrants.
  • Over twenty South African children achieved 80% and above marks achieving Champion first and second status.

International dignitaries and country presidents were treated to typical South African hospitality, with the South African team giving a rousing rendition of the SA national anthem at the start of the proceedings.  The children from participating countries took part in a talent show that highlighted the cultural diversity of their countries.

General Secretary of PAMA, Mr David Liao was impressed by the level of abacus and mental arithmetic training in South Africa through the A+Students network. “It is encouraging to see South Africa compete on such a high level with some of the top performing countries in the world, including many Asian countries.”

Marlene Mouton, of PAMA South Africa then handed over the PAMA flag to Ronnie Chong, PAMA president of Malaysia hosts of the 2018 championships. Commenting on the success of the championship, Ronnie Chang said Malaysia would have a tough act to follow as PAMA South Africa had set the bar very high with its successful hosting.

 “South Africa can be proud to be part of such a prestigious international mental arithmetic championship, says Marlene Mouton “as it shows that, despite our dire education situation, there is hope that we can, through the efforts of dedicated educators and initiatives such as these, change the course of education for the future. These talented children are proof that with early intervention in basic arithmetic through the use of the Chinese abacus or Japanese soroban, all children can excel at arithmetic and maths.”