As part of its mission statement to empower learners in the classroom and beyond, and encourage them to take mathematics related subjects seriously, Futura High, a school established about twenty five years ago in Durban, South Africa, launched an rousing mind sport christened “FUTURA INTER-HOUSE MATH QUIZ”.

The maiden competition designed to boost the analytical thinking of South African school learners and help them to do simple mathematical problem solving easily without the use of calculator, focused on critical topics such as number systems, algebra, patterns, differential calculus, trigonometry, analytical geometry, statistics and probability.

The event which was described as highly successful by Mr. P. Govender, principal of Futura High School, brought together contestants selected from five other schools across Durban namely, Star Schools, Open Air School, Chesterville Secondary, St. James College and Durban Matric and FET Academy, who were subsequently regrouped into four houses such as Kings, Queens, Lions and Cheetahs. Each house comprised of three contestants making a total of twelve.

Representing Kings were Khanya Nyide from Futura High School, Sibisi Siyabonga – Star Schools and Masuku Bhekisizwe – St. James College.

On behalf of the Queens the following students: Sikelela Mafunda, Sbahle Jali and Ngcobo Zinhle, contested from Futura High, Star Schools and St. James College correspondingly.

The ‘House’ of Lions was occupied by Bavuyise Songwangwa from Futura High School; Colleen Zviuya from Durban Matric and FET Academy and Mhlongo Lungile – Chesterville Secondary.

The Cheetahs were symbolized by Nokubonga Majozi, Fezile Khumalo and Xulu Simanga, who were one-to-one selected from Open Air School, Durban Matric and FET Academy and Chesterville Secondary.
Three other schools; Durban Commercial College, Brettonwood High School and Sastri College also showed up as part of the audience.

Contenders were selected from among students who exhibited great dedication to the study of mathematics and performed commendably in terms one and two examinations.
Trophies were presented to the all the contestants at the culmination of the episode.

At the end of round five, KINGS and CHEETAHS got eliminated. This made way for the other two houses; LIONS and QUEENS to qualify to the next stage. Upon completing the tenth round, QUEENS emerged winner with the highest score and was crowned the 2018 FUTURA HIGH SCHOOL INTER – HOUSE MATH QUIZ CHAMPION.

The well attended stately event, moderated by Miss Marcia Ncube, which saw more than four hundred invitees filling the Kendra Hall located at Greyville in Durban, was held on Wednesday August 1, 2018 at eight o’clock in the morning, and graced by invited distinguished guests, prominent among them were Mr. Daniel Krupanandan – Deputy Chief Education Specialist for mathematics and physics at the Umlazi District of KZN Department of Education, and Professor Megandhren Govender from the Durban University of Technology Department of Mathematics and Physics.

According to the Quiz Project Coordinator, Mr. Victor Nyakey, the competition would happen thrice per year and attract more schools to get involved. He therefore called on the general public, educational orgnisations and corporate bodies to come on board and support future mathematics competitions so that the task can achieve its objectives.

In his speech as distinguished guest speaker, Mr. Daniel Krupanandan dispelled the misconception that mathematics as a subject is too boring, adding that the best way to improve in diagnostic and critical thinking was to do mathematics. He urged parents and educational institutions to support learners and create the congenial learning environment at home and school respectively, in order to enrich their studies.

He noted, “The benefit of a mathematical competition is that it provides a challenge to teachers and students, stimulates student curiosity and activity, provides opportunities to recognize problem solvers, provides opportunities for many students to participate actively, and provides opportunities for students to explore non-routine problems, types of problems not usually encountered as a part of the regular mathematics curriculum.

Professor Megandhren Govender, South Africa’s most recognized astrophysicist nicknamed Dr. G, mesmerised the audience with scientific experiments, crystal-clear explanations, and adrenalin-pumping show that kept everyone at the very edge of their seats. Covering many aspects of the school syllabi (science, mathematics and technology), the show presented science in whole a new light, demystifying the accepted belief that one needs to be a genius or nerd to understand science. His demonstrations were to motivate learners and educators as well as help them to recognise mathematics and science as interrelated subjects, stressing that the two play a vital role in the socio-economic development of South Africa and the world. He mentioned that, mathematics and science competitions are useful for strengthening the education of gifted students and promote teamwork and enthusiasm.

A practicing Actuarial Analyst and former student of Futura High School, Mr. Msomi Mthetheleli, expressed concern about apathy among students, a situation which causes poor performance in mathematics, and admonished the audience to change attitude and study hard. He charged all school authorities across South Africa to create proper structures and learner support programmes that will motivate students and prevent them from losing interest in mathematics and science related subjects.

In his discourse as sponsor of the quiz programme, the Chief Executive Officer of InSchool Application (a virtual classroom compatible with smartphones suitably designed for South African schools), discouraged students against sexual immorality, indiscipline, and the use of illegal and harmful drugs. Mr. Saleam Essop believed such propensities cause high rate of teenage pregnancy, mental illness and expulsion of students from school. He also offered to sponsor all learners who contested in the math quiz to have a limited access to some of the online prerecorded math video lessons already uploaded on the InSchool App.

The programme started and ended with a prayer by Mr. Miya and Mr. Joseph Chengiah separately. Outright discipline was infused among the audience by the rest of the school teaching staff, prefects and security officials led by Mr. H. Budram

Delivering his vote of thanks at the end of the six-hour long competition, Mr. Victor Nyakey announced the financial contributions made by the Chairman of Futura High School Governing Body, Mr. Warren Clark and his team of mathematics educators; Messrs Sudhir Kuldip, Moses Mbuyazi, Osten Saroti, Khetha Miya and Balla Mahalila, in support of the successful running of the tournament. He also thanked Miss D. Byrne, prefects and the entire Futura staff for their role in taking care of guests.

The following officials from the participating schools through their principals or managers contributed immeasurably to towards the efficacious implementation of the quiz programme by arranging transportation and other logistics for the students. They are; Messrs. Mendziwah Biyela, Thabani Shezi, Reuben Mathala, Fortune Chirove, Hudson Sibanda, Kumaran Govender, Alex Mensah, Sphamandla Ndwandwe, Sbonelo Sibiya, Leonard Mudzamiri and Bruce Fisher.

The rest are: Misses Brightness Mdluli, Zinhle Ngcobo and Andrea Pratten

By Victor Nyakey (victornyakeyyao@gmail.com ) – Durban South Africa

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