Looking for talent

Looking for talent

A new maths and science competition is seeking Hong Kong's bright young stars

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Wan Chi-keung, special assistant to the vice-president for academic development at Polytechnic University, is looking forward to the new competition.
Wan Chi-keung, special assistant to the vice-president for academic development at Polytechnic University, is looking forward to the new competition.
Photo: Felix Wong
Asian students are consistently among the top performers worldwide when it comes to maths and science subjects. And now Polytechnic University is looking to provide a further boost to some of these young brainboxes by holding the very first Hong Kong inter-school maths and science competition.

"Our students are outstanding and have won many competitions overseas, such as the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC). We think we should develop a platform in Hong Kong to further promote and enhance their interest and competitiveness in the subject," says Wan Chi-keung, special assistant to PolyU's vice-president for academic development. Wan is the national director for Hong Kong at the AMC, and will oversee the new competition here.

The Senior Secondary Mathematics and Science Competition (SSMSC) will cover four subjects: mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. It is open to all Secondary Five students. However, Wan says able junior students are also welcome to try their luck at the event, which is to be held in April. Participating students will each receive a written assessment of their results after the competition and schools will also receive a report with the results of their students and their ranking compared to other schools.

"The competition will give students as well as teachers a chance to see how they compare to others in Hong Kong," Wan says. "We've already sent out invitation letters to around 500 schools and the feedback has been very positive. Each school is allowed to nominate up to nine students in three teams per subject. We anticipate at least 3,000 students entering the competition."

And it doesn't end there. To encourage the participants, the university will be offering places on a training programme in the four subjects for the top 2 per cent of teams in each subject at the competition, free of charge.

"The programme is for university level and taught by our team of professors who specialise in the subjects," says Wan. "The 10-day intensive training, which is equivalent to three credit hours of university study at Polytechnic, will prepare students for the second round of competition where they will be given real-life problems to solve as a team.

"We believe our students will benefit a great deal from the competition. It will sustain their interest in the subjects and allow them to reflect on their performance. It will also offer them a taste of the subjects before university, thus helping them decide on their study path."

Registration is open until January 15. For details, visit www.polyu.edu.hk/edc/ssmsc. Young Post will be posting samples of the kind of questions students can expect at the competition on our website in early February.

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