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Team Rwanda’s ambitious goal to conquer African challenges through Mathematical problem solving

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Mathematics today is not all about equations, it is not about Logarithms, trigonometry, or Cos over Sin. Mathematics is a subject feared by many youths. Some say, as long as they can count money, they are okay. However, Math today is more than counting, it is about problem-solving!

As the 30th Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad, PAMO, Kickstarts today, where a brilliant convergence of 26 African nations gather, the tenacious team from Rwanda perceives this momentous competition as an extraordinary gateway to amazing prospects and the pivotal catalyst for revolutionizing African societies through the power of mathematics.

Organized by the African Mathematics Union PAMO Commission, PAMO is hosted by the Ministry of Education, in partnership with AIMS Rwanda, with support from the University of Rwanda, NESA, REB, and the Mastercard Foundation.

PAMO is hosted by a different African country, and this year is Rwanda’s first time hosting the event. At present, 26 nations have sent their teams from across the continent to the heart of Africa, and another 8 attending online.

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A team of 3 girls and 3 boys are nationwide selected to represent their countries

Each country selects and trains its top high school students to form a team of 3 boys and 3 girls. In Rwanda, these young people have been selected through national tests run by the UR CST, and African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, AIMS.

The initial pool of candidates was over 100,000 students across more than 800 schools and through several rounds of competition and further training.

Each problem is new, and original, never seen before. This means that students must be able to think critically to approach problems, and have strong problem-solving skills.

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The problems asked in the competition aim at solving real-life problems

Rwanda’s Minister of Education, Dr Valentine Uwamariya believes this competition is just the first step for these young minds to solve the continent’s most pressing issues.

She said, “These young people will contribute to the development of the country through innovation.”

Adding that this exhilarating competition holds the potential to ignite a vibrant spark in the hearts of young individuals, motivating them to wholeheartedly embrace the captivating world of mathematics, which has often been shrouded in apprehension and unease for many.

“When you stop fearing math, it becomes fun. It also develops critical thinking,” she said.

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Minister of Education, Dr Valentine Uwamariya, says Mathematics is the bases for development

It is not only the Minister of Education but the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of ICT, Yves Iradukunda, also said that Mathematical concepts and methods challenge minds to be innovative and tackle very difficult situations.

Maths has greatly contributed to solving world problems through innovation, creativity, and technological advancements that contribute to our well-being. When we look at the internet, social networks, and online platforms such as Google, these have used algorithms to create the services that we require.

Team Rwanda is full head ready for the challenge, these bright minds have spent months preparing for this competition and expect to see the results of their hard work. But for this team, it is not only about winning the competition, it is also about the long-run impact of their participation.

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Team Rwanda is ready to take on the challenge

Uwineza Ursuline, a Team Rwanda participant, believes that her participation will impact her life and the lives of other young girls pursuing sciences.

She said, “ Participating as a woman is going to empower more girls to believe in themselves and other sciences. It will inspire other girls to pursue hard subjects.”

She believes that being in this competition brings a lot of hope. “The things we learn in this competition we apply them in the development of our country and Africa as a whole.”

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They have been training for the past months waiting for this day

Mucyo Salvi, also a Team Rwanda Participant, says that they learned different problem-solving techniques which will help them develop critical thinking which is very useful in solving real-life problems.

Kwizera Samuella, another girl on the team expect to gain more skills in critical thinking.

She said, “PAMO is all about solving problems. It is not just about the numbers and formulas. It is both thinking and then finding ideas to solve a certain problem. I want to solve some problems in the society and be as innovative.”

“I think it is important for the African Youth to be in this competition, it enables them to be highly critical thinkers and be able to solve African problems.”

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Mucyo Salvi one of the Rwandan participants

For the students, PAMO also represents a chance to showcase their mathematical talent, and also for them to travel, get new experiences, and network with different people.

Rungano Maya from Zimbabwe says that he has got an opportunity to network, link up with people, and have a good experience. Participating in the competition has required a lot of effort on his part but it also means much more.

“ It means that there are people who believe in our potential and believe we are definitely the future,” he said.

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Participants came from all over the continent
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Some are still preparing for the big day tomorrow
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Team Algeria
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Team Benin
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Team Burundi
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Team Cameroon
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Team Ivory Coast
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Team Congo
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Team Ethiopia
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Team Kenya
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Team Morocco
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Team Namibia
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Team Niger
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Team Nigeria
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Team Senegal
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Team South Africa
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Team Tanzania
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Team Tunisia
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Team Togo
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Team Uganda
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Team Zimbabwe
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