Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The first round of the 13th Kapek Kenya Mathematical Olympiad (KKMO) will be held on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. The KKMO is an annual mathematical contest that is organized by the Department of Mathematics at the University of Nairobi.  The Lead organizer is Dr. James Katende assisted by Dr. Jared Ongaro. The first round consists of two categories. The Junior contest for students in the first two years of high school, and the Senior contest for the students in their third or higher classes in high school.

The Contest is sponsored by KAPEK Mathematical Instruments who have been very helpful by providing awards and providing support for marketing the contest on social media. The contest has been running since the year 2009.

The contest will be held in three rounds and the top 6 students in the third and final round of the 13th KKMO will have a chance to represent Kenya in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2023 in Japan. The winners and the Departments of Mathematics at their schools receive cash awards from the sponsor KAPEK Mathematical Instruments.  The first round will be conducted in the schools to ensure wider participation and is open to any school willing to participate. The second and third rounds will be conducted at the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Nairobi.

Registration for the 13th KKMO  is currently ongoing and the details are available on  the KKMO official website  https://kkmo-official.com/registration-info/

The top six students in the third round of the 12th KKMO, which was held in 2021, will get a chance to represent Kenya at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Oslo, in July 2022. The students also received trophies donated by a group of engineers from the Kenya Airways. The cash awards of the 2021 edition will be issued to the schools and the students on the 20th May, 2022 in their respective schools.

The olympiad exposes students to analytical problem solving skills beyond the routine curriculum based questions. The contest offers a number of benefits to both the schools and the students. It helps to identify gifted students and nurture their talent early enough. It also provides them with an opportunity to compete with the best students worldwide. Feedback from the participating schools indicates that they experience increased interest and better performance after participating in the KKMO. In some schools the contest has made the mathematics clubs very active.

The setup also promotes the interaction between the University of Nairobi Staff with teachers and students in high school.  This link is essential in understanding and mentoring the students who eventually join the universities. It also acts as an outreach program for the department of mathematics.

Previous participants have performed very well in their KCSE exams. Some have gained admission to ivy league universities such as Harvard, Stanford and Princeton.  From the winners of a recent edition of the KKMO, we have John Yoshi (Alliance High School) and Jeremy Michoma (Strathmore School) who have gained admission to the prestigious Princeton University.

To help the students and teachers get accustomed to the contest level questions, a biweekly online training is scheduled every two weeks. The training is free and runs from 7pm to 8pm. To attend the training one may register on the following zoom link

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUudeCopzMvEtDLlq7uV6xfn_EixBGGmxwc .

Previous recordings are available on the following youtube playlist


The discussions covered in the training can form very good material for the mathematics clubs in secondary schools.

The online training is conducted by Dr. James Katende, from the Department of  Mathematics, University of Nairobi. The next training is scheduled for 16th May,2022 at 7pm.

Development of young talent is important for producing highly competent problem solvers for the market. The Government’s Big 4 Agenda would be well served by nurturing young talent in preparation for the various STEM related jobs in all the four pillars of the Big Four Agenda, namely, Food Security; Affordable Housing; Manufacturing and Affordable Healthcare. This will ensure that Kenya is competitive globally and not just locally.