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RIYADH: About 31,000 students participated in the first phase of the Mawhiba Kangaroo Maths Competition 2022 in Saudi Arabia, which will end next week on March 21.

The final phase of the competition, organized by the King Abdulaziz and His Companions for Giftedness and Creativity Foundation, will take place virtually on March 25-26.

Badr Al-Majrathi, head of the competitions department at Mawhiba, said: “With its global momentum, Mawhiba opens the door to the participation of all students in the Kingdom, and aims to encourage students to deepen and master their knowledge of mathematics. , thus developing their mathematical skills and their ability to solve mathematical problems.

He told Arab News that the competition helps to promote a passion for mathematics among students, helps them apply mathematics to life activities and reinforces the importance of a mathematical education.

Al-Majrathi said the kangaroo competition is part of Mawhiba’s program of events to discover and develop the performance of talented people. “The quality of the questions included in the competition is of a special nature in terms of the connection between mathematics and various life activities,” he added.

Since its inception in the Kingdom in 2016, the competition has attracted around 190,000 students. This year, the competition saw 5,638 students from the Eastern Province, which provided the most participants among all regions of the Kingdom.

Hashem Al-Shaikhy, professor of mathematics at King Faisal University, said the Kangaroo Contest “is of real significance, as it is a wonderful and distinguished contest in mathematics.

“The contest questions require mathematical knowledge, of course, but they require higher mathematical thinking skills, because its questions are characterized by difficulty, especially those with higher scores.”

He added: “Given the high level of the questions on the one hand, and their importance and role in developing students’ mathematical thinking and thinking skills in general on the other hand, we support students participating in this competition, especially those who show signs of excellence in mathematics.

Al-Shaikhy, who is also an expert in math competitions in the Middle East, added: “Given the low average score in the international Kangaroo tests, which is due to the level of its difficult questions, and in order not to frustrate students when they get low grades, it is very important for students to understand that they will get many benefits from taking exams at such a high level and any grade they get indicates great distinction, which should be rewarded .

Mathematics teacher Saleh Al-Mofadhali urged schools and math teachers in particular to hold training classes for students before letting them participate in math competitions. The lessons should help students solve exercises, develop arithmetic skills and find solutions to mathematical problems through critical thinking, he added.

Al-Mofadhali, who has spent about 20 years teaching mathematics to students of different ages, stressed the importance of the math competition to develop students’ thinking skills, discover talented people, work to develop talents and guide them towards specializations that correspond to their skills.

He said the role of the school and the math teacher is centered on “working together to overcome students’ difficulties and fear of math”, to make math popular with students through competitions and to link math lessons to sports and other games.

He warned that schools should avoid ‘making pupils rigid’, adding: ‘Mathematics learning should not be limited to homework and explanations on the blackboard’.

Al-Mofadhali said that organizing competitions motivates students to raise their skills and pay attention to mathematics, due to its importance in the development of science and other knowledge.

“Training the student well in order to memorize the multiplication table is essential, in addition to training the student in problem solving that emphasizes higher-order thinking skills and improves confidence in self of the student,” he added.

Bandar Mamdouh, a member of the Mathematical Science Students’ Association, also highlighted the importance of building students’ self-esteem, and how the math contest and other educational contests help achieve this goal by “increasing the student’s level of knowledge through training and practice”. ”

He said that science competitions create a sense of competition between school communities and that “school administrations, teachers and parents work together to motivate students and provide them with assistance to participate in the competition and do their best to excel. “.

Mamdouh added that science competitions have a positive impact on the education system as they inspire students to learn, create and innovate.