17 May 2012 - The UCT Mathematics Competition is an annual mathematics competition for schools in the Western Cape province of South Africa, held at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
The competition began in 1977 as a school-based event, organised by local teachers, which sees high school learners write multiple-choice maths papers as individuals or in pairs to attain top honours in this prestigious contest. The event is the largest of its kind in South Africa.
This year’s competition took place on the evening of Monday 16 April, with a record entry of 7251 entrants from 150 Western Cape schools. Young maths boffins wrote in 63 venues across the UCT campus, under the supervision of 240 teachers. Separate papers for learners in Grades 8 to 12 were set by a committee of maths teachers and UCT lecturers. The questions are designed to test insight, problem-solving and lateral thinking, as opposed to most school examinations that largely consist of routine maths exercises.
"Full marks in the UCT Mathematics Competition are a rare event," said Emeritus Professor John Webb of the UCT Mathematics Department. "The UCT Maths Competition has proved to be an excellent way of uncovering mathematical potential in our high schools."
This uncovering of potential ties in with Aurecon’s brand proposition, ‘Fostering human achievement,’ a goal the group works towards by investing in the education of future leaders. One of the ways in which Aurecon seeks to express its commitment to the accelerated education of black learners is in the enabling of advanced learning opportunities to support young learners in achieving their goals.
Aurecon, annual supporters of the UCT Mathematics Competition, this year contributed towards transportation to the event. The group’s donation was used to cover the bus and taxi costs incurred in transporting 395 participants from Khayelitsha, a partially informal township located on the Cape Flats in the Western Cape.
Thanks to the efforts of the UCT's Schools Development Unit, which organised the transport, thirteen of the township’s schools took part in this year's event, marking a substantial increase in the number of learners from black schools. Only one of these schools has previously participated in the UCT Maths Competition.
Hannes Kritzinger, Aurecon’s Office Manager, Cape Town, says, “We are especially pleased with the strong participation from Khayelitsha and the role we have played in enabling these learners to participate.”
The marking of the competition has been completed and a total of 162 prize winners will be awarded at an official ceremony to be held on Thursday 7 June 2012.