Finance Services provider Old Mutual Malawi has pumped in 33 million Kwacha towards hosting of the 2023/2024 season of its flagship, Mathematics Olympiad at the Mzuzu University.
On Friday November 17, 2023, Old Mutual Malawi handed over the sponsorship package to MZUNI where the company’s marketing and corporate affairs manager Patience Chatsika said the gesture is an expression of commitment towards complementing government’s efforts to improving education standards in Malawi.
Chatsika said education is the cornerstone of progress, and as Old Mutual, they believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to nurture and inspire the brilliant minds of tomorrow, hence the idea to invest the amount in the Mathematics Olympiad.
She added that Old Mutual Mathematics Olympiad is an initiative that the company is proud to be associated with over time which she said has demonstrated the company’s contribution to Malawi’s great mathematical minds whom she said are becoming remarkably influential individuals in various businesses in the country and the world at large.
“The Old Mutual Mathematics Olympiad has stood the test of time. It started way back, and in 2015 we came in to resuscitate the program, and until today, it has been a great journey of transforming and shaping mind cultivating the preference of Mathematics among learners.
“As a business, we acknowledge that mathematics spurs economic growth. It is a result of its unquestionable contribution to the various businesses and professions that our nation depends on. The list is vast and includes statistics. engineering, banking, economics, insurance, and medicine. Our support for this initiative highly aligns with the desire to contribute to the attainment of the country’s aspirations in Malawi 2063,” said Chatsika.
She further articulated that Old Mutual through this initiative hopes to inspire a new generation of mathematicians who will go on to tackle the challenges facing the country and added that it is not just about solving equations and mastering theorems; but also instilling a sense of wonder and excitement in the hearts of young learners.
Reacting to the donation, Professor Elijah Wonder who represented the Mzuni Dean of Faculty of Science, Technology and Innovation, commended the financial services provider for the sponsorship which he said will help them to successfully run the 2023/2024 competition.
Professor Wonder said Mzuzu University together with Old Mutual Malawi decided to launch the Old Mutual Olympiad in 2015 which he said is adding value to the aspirations of the country through the Malawi 2063 agenda and the MIP-1, which among others seeks to promote human capital development but also create knowledge-based economy for creation of an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation.
He continued by saying that the competition is also in line with the 2021 – 2030 Mzuzu University Strategic Plan Pillar 1: of proving Optimum students’ experience, which aims to inspire students’ success through appropriate attitudes, skills and knowledge; but also Pillar III of the MZUNI SP of Internationalisation and Cooperation, which aims to strengthen the global knowledge and ability to interconnect.
“As is common knowledge, mathematics is generally perceived as a difficult subject. It is hoped that by bringing young people together to solve mathematical problems in a competitive environment, students get motivated to study, like and enjoy mathematics and related subjects.
“It encourages students to work hard so that they are included in their schools’ Olympiad teams, in so doing improving their Mathematical skills, a situation that results in improved performance at MSCE and GCSE levels. It also encourages problem-solving skills, critical thinking and higher order cognitive skills among students,” reacted Professor Wonder.
He added that the Old Mutual Mathematics Olympiad has served to dispel the age-old myth that female students are not cut out for Mathematics and related areas as female participants have exhibited outstanding performance comparable to, and sometimes outsmarting their male counterparts.
In his speech, Dr. Noel Kayange who participated in Mathematics Olympiad in 1992 when he was at Kamuzu Academy, encouraged students to embrace the competition which he said has helped him to look forward and opened a lot of doors as he pushed forward in his career.
He added that mathematics is a stepping stone for so many careers including economics finances, accounting, auditing, and even clinical and research world and then encouraged secondary school students to never take this opportunity so lightly.
In the 2022/2023 Mathematics Olympiad edition, Old Mutual Malawi pumped in funds amounting to MK27 Million where 373 students (186 girls and 187 boys) participated and Marist Secondary School emerged the winner.
The Old Mutual Mathematics Olympiad is open to top Form Four (or equivalent) mathematics students from schools across the country where they do compete for various prizes in form of cash, trophies and Mathematics textbooks for their schools after taking a series of examinations at preliminary, semi-final and final stages.