Tipperary primary pupils take up the MATHletes challenge

MATHletes Challenge 2014, a pioneering maths tournament for Ireland based on the Khan Academy approach to learning and teaching maths, has been launched by Irish-American technology entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan and Ciaran Cannon, Junior Minister for Training and Skills at the Department of Education.

MATHletes Challenge 2014, a pioneering maths tournament for Ireland based on the Khan Academy approach to learning and teaching maths, has been launched by Irish-American technology entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan and Ciaran Cannon, Junior Minister for Training and Skills at the Department of Education.

Starting on February 1, MATHletes Challenge 2014 will provide participants with a fun, competitive, engaging and rewarding educational experience. Students from fifth and sixth class in primary school and 1st to 3rd year in secondary school junior cycle will compete online and face to face against their peers, with over €20,000 in prizes and the title of MATHletes Challenge Champion 2014 on offer.

Students throughout Tipperary will compete in county and provincial finals, with top scorers advancing to the national finals, which are scheduled to take place in early May. Students will also be able to connect with other contestants by attending free Saturday Khan Clubs which will be held in the National Educations Centres across the country. Students and schools can sign up for MATHletes Challenge 2014 at mathletes.ie

MATHletes Challenge 2014 aims to help students develop the confidence and competence to excel in maths by introducing Irish students and teachers to Khan Academy. With over 10 million users per month and 4 million practice problems solved each day, Khan Academy had been wildly successful in accomplishing its stated mission to provide “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere”. Founded in 2006 by the American educator Salman Khan, Khan Academy is the world leader in free online maths education.

“Given Irish companies are estimated to have 44,500 jobs openings for people with ICT skills over the next 6 years, it is indisputable that proficiency in maths is only going to assuming even greater importance. However, the reality is that when it comes to student performance in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, Ireland has made great gains, but remains disappointingly average in comparison to our European counterparts. This needs to change and there is no reason that Ireland cannot be number one” said O’Sullivan.

Tech Entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan is supporting this initiative through the O’Sullivan Foundation, in partnership with the Department of Education. O’Sullivan expressed his enthusiasm for the MATHletes Challenge 2014 stating, “This is an exciting opportunity for Irish students and teachers. Educational innovations like MATHletes Challenge 2014 and Khan Academy should be tried, tested and scaled. These tools can produce world class students in the STEM subjects by reinventing classrooms all across Ireland and ensuring the Irish education system is fit for purpose”.