Loyola Jesuit College

15-year-old SS 2 student of Loyola Jesuit College Abuja, Sashe Ojuba, has emerged the best in Kangaroo Mathematics competition.

Professor of Mathematics, Adewale Solarin, stated this in Abuja.

Ojuba is following in the steps of Ekene Franklin, who scored the highest score in JAMB and was the national gold medalist for Nigeria in the American Mathematics competition.

Immediate past Director and Chief Executive of the National Mathematics centre and principal consultant for the International Academy for the Gifted, said that he was challenged by colleagues about grooming gifted children in the country.

Speaking at an award ceremony for over 100 students winners in the Northern category of the competition, Solarin, who is the immediate past Director and CEO of Mathematics centre, said he was challenged by colleagues to groom mathematicians for Nigeria.

According to him: “We started in 2008 when some of my colleagues in Morocco and the US really challenged us on the need to identify gifed children early and develop them.

“Part of the challenge was that I have been producing students with first class in the university.

“This is my 43rd year in the university system, they told me that it is a bit late when you start with students in the university system.

“They may make first class but they cannot make deep research, if you want deep research, go to secondary and primary, identify them early and develop them.

“We now found international competitions like the American Maths Competition (AMC) where more than 100 countries participate in, then Kangaroo Mathematics Competition where more than 90 countries participate so it gives our children the opportunity.

“Every year we see new species of gifted kids. Like this year, we found some primary six and five pupils beating JSS 1 and 2 students in the same exams.

“There are many categories, the category that Shashe got the first price is that of SS2 and 3, which is fantastic for her to come first in the country is worth celebrating.

“In the last five to six years, most of these children eventually get admission to the best university in the world.

“Gifted camp finished in Cambridge with full scholarship, one just finished in Stanford, first class distinction in computer science last June and Google picked him up immediately.

“That is what we see every year. One thing we are trying to make parents know is that if you have a gifted child, you should help us train and develop them.

“All the investments you need to make now is secondary school, we have had a student that passed Cambridge advanced level at SS2.

“University of Ibadan gave him admission direct entry when his mates where still writing Jamb. He eventually got admission to Cambridge with full scholarship.

“He has Masters now and his working towards getting admission for Phd. So, it is just an initial investment you make and the world takes over.”

Miss Ojuba said preparing for the competition was not easy.

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