By Jerry E. Esplanada
More than 500 young numbers aces from various public and private schools nationwide will represent the country this year in at least 16 international mathematics contests.
Some of the math wizards are competing in this month's Junior Balkan Math Olympiad and the 3D Pan Pacific Math Competition in Greece and Hong Kong, respectively, according to Dr. Simon Chua, co-founder and chief executive officer of the Mathematics Trainers' Guild Phils.(MTG).
The non-government MTG, established in 1995 to promote excellence in math education and training, is helping Filipino "mathletes" - mostly senior elementary and high school students - gear up for the contests with its intensive in-house training program.
The Philippines will also be represented in the following math tilts:
In November, MTG is scheduled to hold the 13th Sudoku Super Challenge National Finals, the Family Math Quest and Math Olympiad for Senior High School Students and the Math Trail and Problem Solving Competitions (in cooperation with SM, Sharp and the Department of Education).
Chua expressed confidence 2018 "will be another banner year for our math contingents, who are expected to do their best in making the country and their respective schools and families proud again by bringing home more medals and other contest honors."
Last year, he recalled, Filipino math wizards bagged a total of 1,059 individual medals, including 149 golds. They also won 309 silver and 601 bronze medals, as well as 98 merit certificates in 15 competitions. An additional 17 medals were garnered in the team events.
The 2017 gold medal haul included 44 from the International Math Wizards Challenge in Xiamen, China, 33 from IMC-Singapore and 22 from the China Primary Math Olympiad in Hong Kong.
Other officials of MTG and its affiliates Math Development Academy of the Philippines (MathDAP) and Philippine Brain Power Society (PBPS) noted the mathletes "enjoy a strong support group, composed of their families, teachers, friends and private organizations, among others."
MTG president Isidro Aguilar and information officer Joseph Wee pointed to the "huge turnout" during the in-house training sessions, held early this year in Manila and Iloilo City. Some 3,000 students from all over the country took part in the MTG activity.
"Proof that math-related events have gained wide public acceptance and recognition, especially from students, parents and teachers," said Aguilar. Wee added, "in the process, standards of Philippine math education are uplifted."