From: Grace Obike, Abuja
A 15 years-old female student of Loyola Jesuit Collage in Abuja led all other Nigerian candidates in the
best in Nigeria in the International competition that over 90 countries compete
in international Kangaroo Mathematics Competitions which drew participants from
Her remarkable feat is similar to that of another girl, Ekene Franklin who scored the highest in JAMB examinations and was Nigeria’s national gold medallist in the American Mathematics Competition.
Professor of Mathematics and immediate past Director and Chief Executive of the National Mathematical Centre, Professor Adewale Solarin who is the Principal Consultant for the International Academy for the Gifted, said that he was challenged by colleagues about grooming gifted children in the country.
Speaking in Abuja at an award ceremony for over 100 students winners in the Northern category of the competition, Professor Solarin noted that several of the newly-discovered gifted Nigerian children have gone to demonstrate that special intellectual endowments in foreign universities.
“We started in 2008 when some of my colleagues in Morocco and the US really challenged us on the need to identify gifted 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 Primary Five pupils beating JSS 1 and JSS 2 students in the same exams.
“In the last five to six years, most of this children eventually get admission to the best university in the world, some of the students of our ‘Gifted Camp’ finished in Cambridge with full scholarship, one just finished in Stanford with 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 and theUniversity of Ibadan gave him Direct Entry admission while his mates where still writing JAMB.
“He eventually got admission to Cambridge with full scholarship; he has a Master’s degree now and his working towards getting admission for PhD, so it is just an initial investment you make and the world takes over.”