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'Wish we had more mathematics at school'

LAHORE, Aug 3: Western countries, unlike Pakistan, pay due attention to mathematics and mastering the subject is essential to ace the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), said participants of IMO on Thursday.

A six-member Pakistani team participated in the IMO last month in Hanoi, Vietnam and won the bronze medal and the 'Award of Honour'. The team members, all A' Level students, were Muhammad Fahd Waseem, Mustafa Abbas, Saif Sultan, Shoaib Afzal, Awais Tariq, and Zaeem Hussain and were led by Dr AD Raza Chaudhry and deputy leader Ahmed Mahmood Qureshi.

Zaeem Hussain
(Student of Aitchison College)

I won the bronze medal in the IMO. IMO was much more difficult than I thought, as experts at math from 93 countries were participating. It is an honour for us that we represented Pakistan and made our country proud. I feel there is room for improvement in our education system. Our schools do not pay due attention to mathematics as do international schools. The subject's importance cannot be ignored.

Sohaib Afzal
(Student of Beaconhouse School in Islamabad)

Experiencing the IMO was a very interesting event of my life. I won the 'Award of Honour' on solving a question out of six given questions. I observed that the syllabus of schools of other countries was much closer to the difficulty level of the IMO. For decades, we have been taught how to solve mathematical problems, but we have never been explained the concepts and practicality of those problems and their solutions.

Awais Tariq
(Student of Aitchison College)

The IMO experience was truly unique for me. The A' levels curriculum is good but still needs updating to be closer to standards of developed countries. As far as how helpful our curriculum is for the IMO, I say there is much more practice and guidance needed than we had time for. The government should revise the selection criteria for the IMO and I feel that people from various districts should also be checked for more mathematical inclination.

Saif Sultan
(Student of Saint Marry Academy, Rawalpindi)

As compared to others, we were better prepared. It was great to interact with mathematical experts of other countries. Our math course is fairly well compiled, but to be trained for the IMO, we would need it to be improved. Countries that came first and second in the IMO have been participating for years, therefore it is a great achievement for us to have won the bronze medal.

Mustafa Abbas
(Student of Beaconhouse School in Karachi)

I think we proved that Pakistanis are smart people by winning the awards. We have a lot of smart brains that need to be shaped, and that coaching is what we lack. The standard preparation time for the IMO is three years and we only got a year to get prepared. We need a better math curriculum to keep up with the IMO pace. I think we can win the competition if the government supports us further.

Fahad Waseem
(Student of Karachi Grammar School)

I think we are not yet in position to compete with developed countries on math. Our team and our coach Dr Barbu Bercean worked really hard for the IMO. Our math curriculum was set up umpteenth years ago and has not been updated yet. I think the course needs a revision. I guess the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is working on it as it has included math in the entry tests for universities. Daily times
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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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