In contest: Amina Khalfan and Abigail Moleka, both Grade 9 learners from Queen's Park High School, were among the more than 6 000 learners who participated in this year's UCT Mathematics Competition.
Waiting to register for the UCT annual mathematics competition, it was clear one mother and daughter pair looked anxious.
The Grade 8 learner wasn't concerned that she was about to take part (for the first time) in the biggest maths gathering in the Western Cape, attracting over 6 000 learners from 130 schools, but how she would get home to Gugulethu after the competition, which was scheduled to end at 21h00. The school bus would take them only as far as her school in Athlone.
"God will make a plan," said the mother. "I could not disappoint my daughter because she was looking forward to this event."
Their dilemma is testimony to the lengths some learners are willing to go to be part of the legendary 35-year-old competition.
"The competition not only helps learners improve their maths skills and attitudes towards the subject, but it also makes them think a bit further," said teacher Jomari Naude of Drostdy High Technical School in Worcester, which sent 75 learners to the event.
Like many others, Grade 11 learner Nabeela van der Schyff of Queen's Park High School in Woodstock said that the competition had piqued her interest in studying at UCT.
"I would love to be part of the UCT family after matriculating," she said.
Competition director, Emeritus Professor John Webb of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, said: "We show learners that maths can be interesting. That is the point."
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