Arithmetic, after all, may be Fun

Young maths wizards with their trophies Pic by Amit Kanwar

Shimla: Dreaded by most students, mathematics could be easy and fun providing the right kind of techniques were employed to improve the mental calculation abilities of children at a young stage is how Rahaul Bhagta introduces parents and teachers to the subject.

Bhagta who has been running the Soroban Education of Mental Arithmetic System (SEMAS) Academy here said that the concept of mental arithmetic system by using Japanese Abacus system was fast catching up in the city because children as young as 7 to 8 years old were able to do complicated addition, subtraction or multiplication sums within seconds.

For way of results, he said, 20 students from the SEMAS Shimla Academy participated in the 2010 North Zone competition of 7th National Abacus & Mental Competition, held at Delhi and 9 of them came out winners with 1st and 2nd positions.

The Delhi zonal mental arithmetic Olympiad was also to select students for the 12th PAN Pacific Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Competition to be held in Thailand, 2011 and 3 of our students have been selected for the international compeititon.

In fact, Anant Kumar Gupta, a 3rd Class student from DAV New Shimla, bagged the Champion Of the Champions award in the boys category at Delhi that is given to the overall winner in the group, said Bhagta.

Besides Anant, Priyamvada Sharma and Keshav Peri have been selected for the international competition to be held in Thailand, 2011. Keshave, a 5th Class student of St Edwards and Priyamvada Sharma a 3rd Class student of Convent of Jesus & Mary bagged the first positions in their categories at Delhi, he said.

Others who bagged second prizes in their respective categories included Shourya Bhardwaj, Prajwal Shandil, Prakram Manta, Anuj Mehta of St. Edwards School and Priyanka Thakur, Samriti Jaswal, Abhimanyu Pandit from Dayanand Pubilc School.

Though the academy was presently functioning in the state capital but demand for opening centers elsewhere was rising, claimed Bhagta.

He said that in a year more than 400 students had enrolled at the 9 centers in Shimla which are running at n St. Edward’s School, Dayanand Public School, Himalayan Public School – Kaithu, My School – Sanjauli, Happy Child School – Chotta Shimla, Udaan – New Shimla and SEMAS Academy – Panthaghati.

Abacus, a simple learning instrument with rows and beads in a frame was used to count and calculate, originated in China but was improvised by the Japanese and is now being used the world over for improving speed calculation abilities.

SEMAS adopts the Japanese Soroboan methods with its advanced syllabus in training instructors and teaching student strictly without any deviations, said Bhagta.

The system came to establish its open its founding office at Chennai in 2003 and since then has opened centres around the country. Each year the organization also conducts international competitions in different countries.

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