Why we are investing in Mathematics studies, by Einarsson
Mathematics education according to experts is the foundation of science and technology without which a nation can never become prosperous and economically independent. Nations that have recorded huge success in science and technology obviously understand the place of mathematics in national development.
Research conducted by Dr. Tanya Evans of Stanford University, indicates that children who know math are able to recruit certain brain regions more reliably, and have greater gray matter volume in those regions, than those who perform more poorly in math. “The brain regions involved in higher math skills in high-performing children were associated with various cognitive tasks involving visual attention and decision-making.”
It was on this premise that Promasidor Nigeria Limited, for 20 years now has been stimulating Nigerian students’ interest in the study of the subject through the national Cowbellpedia Mathematics competition.
Investment in education, the company observed, has assumed a new frontier, requiring both the government and corporate organisations to raise their commitment to building capacity in Mathematics education.
Managing Director of the company, Mr Anders Einarsson, said government, corporate organisations and all stakeholders should take the bull by the horns and promote mathematics education, since it represents a concrete pillar in modern development. Highlighting that mathematics is at the heart of every development in any country of the world, he said the company’s decision to invest in the subject through the competition, is geared towards accelerating Nigeria’s development.
He said the knowledge of mathematics does not only facilitate knowledge in other fields of study, but also helps in acquisition of problem-solving skills.He said, “Mathematics promotes reasoning as it helps the mind to organise complicated situations or problems into clear, simple, and logical steps. The subject plays a vital role not only in human development but also in national growth.”
In corporate Nigeria, Promasidor Nigeria Limited has demonstrated commitment to mathematics education in the last 20 years, through Cowbellpedia Secondary Schools Mathematics TV Quiz Show, Cowbellpedia Radio (a Mathematics class on radio) and Cowbellpedia Mobile App (Mathematics question and answer mobile application). All these platforms seek to identify, reward and promote excellence in the study of the subject.
To this end, Einarsson asserted that the company has met its mapped out objectives of providing a platform to identify and reward excellence in Mathematics and also stimulate the interests of many students in the subject area.
Stakeholders in the sector affirmed that these platforms have helped to reawaken the interest of students in Mathematics at the secondary school level, which has further reinforced the importance of the subject.The National Examination Council (NECO), had during a chat at the 2018 finals in Lagos, commended Promasidor for stimulating the interest of Nigerian students in Mathematics through the competition.
NECO’s Director of Examination Development, Mr Mustapha Abdul, who spoke in the capacity of the Acting Registrar, Mr Abubakar Gana, described the project as a laudable mission, pledging that the council will continue to provide technical support for the project.He said, “Promasidor deserves a national award for promoting scholarship through this Cowbellpedia initiative over the years. I will encourage them to continue and I want to tell them to keep up the good work. I want Nigerians to embrace Mathematics because it stimulates human mental capacity. Mathematics increases the power of reasoning, creativity, abstract and critical thinking, problem-solving and effective communication. The subject is not something you run away from, it is something that you can embrace as it helps you in everyday life.”
The initiative has also produced numerous heroes. In 2017, Munachi Ernest-Eze, a student of Loyola Jesuit College, set a record by winning both the Junior and Senior categories of the competition within a period of two years.The 2018 edition produced another hero in Faith Odunsi, a student of The Ambassador College, Ota Ogun State, who set a competition record in speed and accuracy by answering 19 questions in the “60 Seconds of Fame” segment to advance to the semi-finals of this year’s edition in the junior category. Faith’s feat shattered the record of 17 questions in that segment set in 2017 by Emmanuel Mebude, a student of Ogunlade Memorial Secondary School, Surulere, Lagos.
From its beginning in 1998, the relationship between Cowbell and Mathematics has expanded in size, scope and prizes. Qualifying examination now holds in over 11,000 schools and more than 200 centres across the country. To further underscore its expansion, the number of students participating jumped from 15,000 a few years ago to more than 40,000 in 2018.
To deepen interest of students in Mathematics, Promasidor Nigeria Limited came up with a compendium as part of its 20th anniversary of the nexus between Cowbell and Mathematics. It is a collection of the competition’s past questions and their answers. These compilations came in volumes and are arranged according to the syllabus and subject areas for the junior and senior classes. The compendium served as the landmark anniversary gift to all students that participated in the 2018 competition across the country, and was available both in the hard copy and in the electronic version.
Worthy of note also is that Promasidor Nigeria Limited contributions to the development of Mathematics education in Nigeria has not gone unnoticed. The company has been consistently recognised by stakeholders in the Corporate Social Responsibility space. In November 2016, Promasidor was named the “Best Company in Education” at the Sustainability Enterprise and Responsibility Award (SERA).
It was awarded the Best Company in Education at the prestigious Lagos State PR Industry Awards (LAPRIGA) held two years ago. Both awards are aimed at recognising and rewarding corporate organisations and individuals for their groundbreaking investments in CSR projects.
The state government, through its Ministry of Education’s “Support Our Schools’ Initiative,” announced Promasidor the 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Award winner. The award was for the promotion, teaching and learning of Mathematics through Mathematics competition in all public senior secondary schools in the state.
However, the company had during last year’s edition (20th anniversary edition) doubled the prizes of the competition to the delight of the participating students and their schools. As a result, the 2018 champions in both categories received N2 million each with an all-expense paid educational excursion outside the country, while the first and second runners-up got N1.5 million and N1 million respectively.
The teachers of the champions were also rewarded with N500,000, while those of the first and second runners-up received N400,000 and N300,000 respectively.Now, with call-for-entry for the 2019 edition already on, there is a lot more excitement ahead.
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