Covid-19 disrupts Maths wizard’s international travel plans
Irene Githinji @gitshee
An Alliance Girls High School student is among learners due to take part in the Pan African Mathematical Olympiad (PAMO) in Monastir, Tunisia, later this year.
Abigael Mukene Kyalo, a Form Four student, and five other Kenyan students, were expected to travel this month to participate in the all-competitive International Mathematical Olympiad.
However, owing to the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that has halted all international travel, the contest has tentavely been postponed to September.
The 17-year old enthusiast of Maths and sciences who aims to study Mechatronic Engineering at university, is undeterred.
“We went through training for the first and second rounds. During round three, we held lots of practice and discussions in Mathematics labs which helped in further opening up my mind,” she said.
Kyalo scored 409 marks in her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and though keen to join a national school, she was not specific to Alliance Girls.
She first tried to take part in the Mathematical Olympiad while in Form Two but was eliminated on the third round.
However, she was determined to continue taking part in the competition and she enrolled last year and passed through to the last round.
She expects to travel to Russia later this year to take part in the International Olympiad. Her journey in the contest commenced last year in February when she sat for her first exam, with more than 300 other students.
The second round of exams was done in June and the final test in September, where only six students qualified.
The exams were set by the University of Nairobi and sent to schools for administration. Charles Ondunga, the Alliance Girls High School Dean of Studies and Head of Mathematics Department says the test attract many learners.
However, the questions asked are not always taught in class, which calls for talent.
Olympiad was first introduced locally in 2009 and Alliance Girls has been participating ever since. In 2016, the school sent a representative to the international contest held in Hong Kong.
In 2017, another contestant from the school competed in Morocco and then Brazil. However, last year’s contestant was not able to travel to UK over visa issues but she had qualified to participate.