Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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23/3/15: MATHS - My Aid To Higher Status

In the middle of a fair bit of travelling at the moment - Southern Tanzania as reported last week, with Lodonga, North West Uganda coming up next week.  But the week just gone took me up Kilifi, Coastal Kenya, for the certificate presentation for a group of primary school teachers who have taken courses in mathematics and science, put on jointly by the Aga Khan University and the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMESTEA) and funded by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development through the Strengthening Education Systems in East Africa project.

The highlight of the event for me is pictured above, alas, I don't think you can read what the signs say, but it's M - A - T - H - S spelling out, 'My Aid To Higher Status'.  Absolutely delighted that these girls should be promoting such a positive message, and very pleased to be associated with an initiative working with primary teachers in making mathematics and science more accessible to youngsters through practical work, experiments, and links with everyday life.  So when my turn to speak came, after formal introductions, I went to where the children were sitting to pose the question, "Why have the balloons been bursting this morning?" and there followed a discussion about why balloons getting hot should have this effect, with then some timetable practice by standing up and sitting down.  Possibly this is not what one is supposed to do when standing in for the director, but it seemed to go down well!

Other contributions from the children included some dancing:

and the joint recitation of a poem written specially, with children speaking together:

with each taking it in turns to say one of the verses:

Of course, such arduous travelling comes at a price, with the need to stay in hotels in Kilifi and Mombasa, with views from the windows a small compensation for the travails undertaken:

So a great event, very pleased to be involved.  Life slightly complicated by a dispute between Tanzania and Kenya which has hugely reduced the number of flights between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as reported here, very much hoping that this can be sorted out soon for everybody's benefit.  As things stand at the moment will be spending 8 hours at Nairobi Airport next Sunday, be sure that I'll be grumbling about this in a future blog post if that is what happens!  But worth it to be part of such great events - yes, really, it is!

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