By Emmanuel Edukugho
The failure rate in Mathematics among secondary school students in Nigeria who sat for the West African Examinations Council in that subject has dropped from 35% to 25% in the last five years.
Similarly, credit has improved in WAEC Mathematics Performance from 34.2% in 2002 to 47% presently, due to the massive support given to Mathematics by Promasidor Nigeria Limited through its sponsorship of Cowbell National Secondary Schools Mathematics Competition (NASSMAC).
Chief Keith Richards, Managing Director, Promasidor Nigeria Limited disclosed in Lagos, Tuesday, at a press briefing on the 10th Edition of NASSMAC to officially flag-off the 2010 competition. He recalled that the competition actually started in 1998 in Lagos State. By 1999, the scope was expanded to other states (Lagos, Anambra, Kaduna and Plateau), while Oyo and Imo states were added in year 2000.
In 2001, NASSMAC became a national competition covering the 36 states of the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Richards spelt out the objectives of the competition to include:
*Awakening the consciousness and interest in Mathematics among secondary school students in Nigeria.
*Generally improve the performance in Mathematics in Nigeria.
*Create a credible platform for identifying outstanding students and encouraging recognition of exceptional ability.
*Redress the myth that Mathematics is a very difficult and impossible subject to pass.
*Assist schools in equipping their classrooms and libraries.
*Provide financial assistance to befitting schools and students.
He said the competition is open to all students 10-18 years of age attending full time secondary education in government approved schools in Nigeria.
Only the best two students in JSS 3 and SSS 2 students from each school are eligible to sit for the examination. Each school head will collect four registration forms which must be correctly filled, stamped and signed by the schoolâ€™s principal and presented by the student to the officials at the examination centre on the examination day.
Principals may also download registration forms online at www.promasidor-ng.com. Entry is free.
The first stage examination for the 2010 edition will hold on Saturday February 13, 2010 in 130 centres in the 36 states and the federal capital. In each of these centres, officials of each state Ministry of Education and Promasidor staff will be on ground to supervise the conduct of the examination.
According to Richards, students, teachers and head teachers are required to check their examination results on the companyâ€™s website: www.promasidor-ng.com as from March 22, 2010. Those students with the highest mark in both the junior and senior categories from each state will be invited and sponsored to Lagos for the second and final state examination from where the national winners shall emerge.
There are state prizes for the Junior Category ranging from N20,000 for 1st prize, to N15,000 for 2nd prize and N10,000 for the 3rd. Same also applies for the Senior Category. In addition, the winners will receive branded gift items, Cowbell milk, rucksacks, certificates of recognition, notebooks and writing materials.
Cash award will be given to the Mathematics teacher of the first prize winners in each sate for both senior and junior secondary school category.
The second and final stage examination will be held in Lagos on Saturday April 17, 2010 at the Lagos Airport Hotel. The final prize-giving award ceremony is slated to hold at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Thursday May 13, 2010.
The national prizes range from N130,000, trophy and medal, to N100,000, plaque and medal and N75,000, plaque and medal for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.
School prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd placements include classroom tables and chairs, Mathematics text books, metal sign post and plaque. There will also be consolation prizes.
He assured that Cowbell Milk would continue to support the National Mathematics Centre, Abuja and would be sponsoring the best two candidates in the senior category of the Cowbell NASSMAC 209 Edition, Onuegbu Tobechukwu and Arene Chukwuemeka to this yearâ€™s Pan African Mathematics Olympiad.
â€œSo far since inception of this programme, we have enjoyed tremendous support from our friends in the media. The success of this competition is due to the tremendous response, encouragement and appreciation shown by all stakeholders including the relevant federal and state Ministries of Education, the schools themselves and WAEC.â€
Professor Sam Ale, Director-General, National Mathematical Centre, praised Promasidor for its interest in Mathematics in the last 10 years.
â€œFor 10 years, it has been holding and awarding prizes for students in |Mathematics and consistent. itâ€™s a great feat and weâ€™re celebrating a private organisation popularising Mathematics and making the nation to have good results in Mathematics,â€ he said at the press briefing. Others present were the representative of WAEC, senior managers of the company and the Consultant, Neo Media, whose Chief Executive is Mr. Ehi Brimah.