Why mental arithmetic should be part of curriculum, by NMC boss

Former Director, National Mathematical Centre (NMC), Prof Adewale Solarin has disclosed that the Abacus system of mental calculation will soon be introduced into the Nigerian primary and secondary school curriculum.

Solarin, who is Head, Education and ICT Directorate, Growth and Development Foundation (GDF), spoke at the closing ceremony of Abacus Mental Arithmetic training for secondary school teachers in Remo, Ogun state.

With the theme: “Advancing Education Landscape in Remo land,” the programme was organised by GDF in partnership with International Academy for the Gifted Programmes (IAGIFTED).

Speaking on the reason for introducing Abacus system of mental calculation, Prof Solarin said: “This dated back to 10 years ago when the Chief Executive of NMC at the time, Prof Sam Allen invited some Asians to train students and teachers at the centre. I was the trainer in charge of the Nigeria team for the international maths Olympia and for three years, I observed that Asians were always leading. They cleared all the gold medals and upon investigation found that they started their mental arithmetic from age five through to age 15. That’s why when I became Chief executive, I decided to train and develop the Nigerian version, everything you are seeing here is totally Nigerian except the Abacus.

“What these trainers achieved in two weeks was more than what original trainers achieved in four weeks; they wanted us to have a franchise so that all the materials would be coming from them, but we rejected such as this would deprive public school pupils from being part of it,” Prof Solarin added.

National Coordinator, IAGIFTED, Oyebola Fabowale, said the training was aimed at empowering pupils in mental arithmetic to be able to compete effectively with their counterparts globally.

On the relevance of Abacus in the current curriculum, Fabowale said it energises the inner mind, brain and enhances mental alertness.


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