#Happy #PiDay! It is not a spelling error
This Saturday, the 14th of March 2020 is a worldwide celebration of the International Day of Mathematics (IDM). This year’s theme “Mathematics is everywhere” aims to celebrate the beauty and importance of mathematics and its essential role in everyday life. The IDM was proclaimed by UNESCO at their General Conference in 2019 and is led by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) with the support of 800 international and regional organisations from all over the world hosting events.
March 14 was chosen as the date for the IDM, because it is celebrated in many countries as Pi Day, since some countries write it as 3/14 and the mathematical constant Pi is approximately 3.14. The mathematical notation used for Pi is the Greek letter Π which you may remember from the equations for the circumference and area of a circle. Each year on March 14th countries are invited to participate through activities for both students and the public in schools, museums, libraries and other spaces.
The South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) will also host the Old Mutual South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) and the Nestlé Nespray South African Mathematics Challenge (SAMC) 1st Rounds during the IDM week to popularise mathematics. Approximately 200 000 primary and high school learners across the country will participate in these two national competitions. This is in line with SAMF’s vision to play a leading role in expanding the base of mathematics excellence in South Africa.
SAMF, a non-profit company, was founded in 2004 by the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) and the South African Mathematical Society (SAMS). It aims to sign up 2,000 Mathematics Guardians by the 14th of March. SAMF aims to advance Mathematical skills and promote learner development, improving the quality of mathematics teaching and securing the future of our country. In 2019 more than 90,000 high school learners registered for the SAMO. Almost 800 disadvantaged learners attended the Siyanqoba training camp, and more than 80,000 primary school learners took part in the SAMC. Furthermore, Teacher Problem Solving courses took place at schools across the country. The 2016 TIMSS report indicated that South Africa's grade 9 learners came in 2nd last out of 39 countries in Mathematics.The government, on its own, cannot solve the problem. We need you to get involved.
If mathematics education is close to your heart, commit today by becoming a Mathematics Guardian and donate R100 per month to the Mathematics Guardian Fund. You can go to https://www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/southafricanmathematicsfoundation to become a Guardian of Mathematics today!
“The programmes we run at the SAMF are so much more than competitions with top achievers. It stimulates interest in the subject and identifies and develops mathematical potential. It makes a difference in the lives of people living in the real world. However, to make a difference in the lives of others, we need partners on both sides of the equation. We therefore request professionals and other people with an interest in mathematics to support us by becoming a Mathematics Guardian,” says Soshan Soobramoney, qualified actuary and Board member of SAMF.
For more information on activities taking place on the International Day of Mathematics you can go to https://www.idm314.org/ .