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Dec 15, 2011

Schools and students disappointed by cancellation of Math Olympiad

The future of the Belize Math Olympiad is still hanging in the balance tonight. We reported on Wednesday that the Social Security Board’s decision to change the requirements of entry into the competition was turned down by the Belize Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (BAPSS). In October, S.S.B. informed BAPSS that students in first and third form who participate as alternates could not compete. S.S.B. offered to suspend the new regulations for 2012, but agreement could not be reached so S.S.B. has decided to suspend the BMO for 2012. The decision has stunned and disappointed a number of students across the country. Earlier today, we spoke to the Head of the Math Department at Wesley College, Orin Castillo; he says the school is distraught since students were already preparing for the competition. Castillo says he doesn’t support the Belize Math Olympiad’s prospective new rule.

Orin Castillo, Head of Mathematics Department, Wesley College

“I can only speak for myself, and not for the principal, nuh. Well, my view on the issue is that, well, the two parties need to come to a compromise on this issue because if we don’t have the  Olympiad this year, it will be a big loss for the students, all across the country, nuh and the best interest of the student is what I have at heart, nuh.”

Andrea Polanco

Orin Castillo

“So, Mr. Castillo, have you guys been preparing and getting ready for the upcoming Math Olympiad?”

Orin Castillo

“Yes, we have, in fact actually, just yesterday afternoon there was an interschool competition between, Edward P. Yorke, Gwen Liz and Wesley and it went well and the students enjoyed it. I was disheartened to watch the news last night and find out the news nuh. When I spoke to my team this morning, they were very disappointed to hear the news. This may only be for this year we don’t know you know, maybe they will hash it out before next February or possibly for next year, so I don’t think that it will be long lasting.”

Andrea Polanco

“Do you support it; support the decision being made by the Social Security Board, in terms of the Math Olympiad?”

Orin Castillo

“Umm, personally, I don’t support the decision trying to put forth by the Social Security Board to limit it to only once as a junior, only once as a senior, no. Aside from that, if we don’t have the Math Olympiad this year, sponsored by the Social Security Board, I, myself and I think I can probably speak for the Heads of Department at E.P. Yorke and Gwen Liz, we would like to probably organize a competition among the ten inner city schools, ourselves so that the students aren’t so disappointed and we can still do our own thing you know.”

A number of other schools we spoke to say that they will be in touch with the BMO to seek clarification on the rash decision. The BMO secretariat told Channel Five that their position is contained in the letter to BAPSS.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Schools and students disappointed by cancellation of Math Olympiad”

  1. ZOE says:

    I fully support Social Security’s decision since the entire purpose of the Math Olympiad from my understanding is to encourage participation of as many of the Belizean young people and students to engage in Mathematics and promote it at the secondary level. The competition is not just about a school winning.

    The BMO obviously is achieving its results if schools have students competing and challenging each other and I do hope that schools are indeed doing internal competitions to choose best representations and not handpicking students to compete.

    The MORE students we get involved the more we push Mathematics skill building in all schools in the country of Belize. The results of PSE, ATLIB , Junior College school placement exams shows that MAJORITY of Belizean students are showing deteriorating Math skills every year .

    We should not have the same students participating every year! We need to encourage and have more participation of our talented Belizean students. They should all have the opportunity within their four years at high school to have at least once the opportunity to compete!

    I FULLY SUPPORT Belize Social Security Board and its decisions. If the principals are ONLY concerned about their SCHOOL WINNING instead of getting more of our Belizean students involved then I say to Mr. Castillo go ahead and organize your own competition with YOUR OWN RULES where fewer students are engaged and only concerned about winning.

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