Math whizkids showcase skills

Students aged 6 to 13 come up with answers by the time one could reach for a calculator

Dubai: Can you answer 200 math problems in eight minutes? Well, these students can.

The mental agility of more than 1,100 students, some as young as six years, was tested during the 15th Universal Concept of Mental Arithmetic System (UCMAS) National Abacus Mental and Arithmetic Competition 2018.

The UCMAS is an internationally acclaimed skill and mental development programme that promotes mental arithmetic system designed for children between six and 13 years of age. The programme offers eight levels in which students explore their creativity, imagination and powers of abstract thinking.

Currently, 3,500 students are enrolled in the programme at 34 centres across the UAE.

A total of 242 children from across the UAE within the age bracket of six years to 13 years won under various categories in the high-intensity, mentally stimulating contest. Some nine children bagged the Grand Champions award, 23 won the champions trophy, while 24 and 27 children received the 1st and 2nd runners-up awards, respectively in the competition.

UAE students from across all the emirates and more than 22 nationalities participated in the contest. Jordanians, Pakistanis, Algerians, Sri Lankans and Indians outshone others while grabbing the top positions.

The young children battled for coveted prizes by solving mental math questions in a matter of seconds, at times even faster than using a calculator.

Soundari Raj, Managing Director UCMAS UAE, said sharpening children’s math skills does them a lot of good.

“Children and teenagers today are far intelligent than ever before, and they need energetic activities to exercise their minds. The UCMAS programme fits the bill since it not just improves the speed of thinking, but successfully sharpens their concentration and observation skills. This year’s competition further cemented our belief that students nowadays thrive on challenges and are willing to scale greater heights, provided they have a platform which they can use constructively,” Raj said.

The programme also enhances skill development and makes wise use of children’s spare time, Swarup Anand, Director of UCMAS UAE, said.

“As a society, we need more of such activities to keep our children and young adults occupied and to distract them from spending hours on tablets. The competition is no mean task, and every student who participated should be proud of this achievement irrespective of whether they won or not,” Anand said.

Participants at the contest also included five students from the Al Amal School for Deaf associated with the Sharjah City of Humanitarian Services, who were felicitated and appreciated for taking up the challenge and giving the other students a run for their money.

The students were given a short timeframe to answer questions involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division set at different levels of difficulty.

In Visual Competition students had to answer 200 question in only eight minutes. Those who solved maximum number of sums in the stipulated time were crowned champions.


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