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22 schools compete at the UOWD Annual Mathalon

Sunday, 10 April, 2011

Students from Choueifat Dubai grab top spots
The annual mathematics competition 'Mathalon' organised by the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) attracted 111 students from 22 schools from Dubai and Sharjah.

The first and second prizes were won by Yazan Nagi and Abdulghani Mohamad Al Nahawi from the International School of Choueifat, Dubai, while the third prize was shared by Pranav Samir Rajpurkar from Raffles International School (West Campus) and Richin Kabra from Our Own High School (Al Warqaa).

Professor Rob Whelan, President, UOWD, expressed satisfaction over the overwhelming response to the event. "At UOWD, we believe that maths is an important fundamental skill that underpins all academic subjects. It is, therefore, imperative that universities and high schools give greater importance to maths. We hope Mathalon will help rekindle the interest in this critical area.

The top three winners were awarded 50%, 30% and 20% scholarships respectively to undergraduate degrees at UOWD.

Nawar al Hakeem, veteran professor of the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, speaking on why the University chose to hold a math competition said: "Mathematics has applications in various fields, such as music and construction, and the importance of math knowledge applies to all careers. It is critical to help students understand what they are studying and why, only then will they be interested.

"We started this competition five years ago to help change students perception of math being a boring subject, meant only for a select few, said Zeenath Reza Khan, coordinator for the event and faculty at the University. "The primary goal for Mathalon has been to make learning math fun, which we believe we have achieved over the years.

"This is the first time that we opened the competition exclusively for high schools and the response was phenomenal, said Jaspreet Singh, registration and e-presence officer for the event and a faculty at the University. "The students were accompanied by their Math faculty representatives from each school.

The paper-based competition tested students individual math skills and allowed participants to compete with their peers in a healthy environment.

Alongside the Mathalon, the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering launched a Teachers Forum through an initiation meeting that was chaired by the Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Mohamed Salem. "The focus of the forum is to understand the dynamics between school teachers and students, build a bridge between school students and high school students through the teachers, and possibly offer tools to help teachers in terms of e-learning trainings, teaching tools to overcome student-learning barriers among others, said Dr. Salem.