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Follow-up Meeting to PAMOCOV Project • Friday, October 29, 2010 • Hilton BWI Airport

The Pan African Mathematics Olympiad Committee of Visitors
John Templeton Foundation Grant ID#13034


PAMO 2008 winners with officials at the
close of the awards ceremony, August 2008


PAMO 2008 participants at the closing ceremony

PAMO Student Panel at QEM International Workshop, August 2006

In September 2007, the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network recieved a grant from the John Templeton Foundation Grant ID#13034y Education for Minorities (QEM) Network received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to convene a Committee of Visitors (COV) to review the 2008 Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO) and its training symposium, organized by the African Mathematical Union (AMU). The Symposium, which precedes PAMO annually, prepares team leaders from participating African countries for the annual PAMO competition that provides African students talented in mathematics with the opportunity to compete internationally.

The Pan African Mathematics Olympiad Committee of Visitors (PAMOCOV) tasks are three-fold: 1) Inform the formation of a strategic programmatic vision at the Templeton Foundation to support mathematics education for gifted students in Africa; 2) Assess the organizational capacity of the AMU to develop the talent pool of students gifted in mathematics throughout Africa; and 3) Identify best practices and/or effective strategies for identifying and nurturing talented mathematics students, strategies that have transfer potential for use in the United States with underserved students.

From July 27–August 3, 2008, PAMOCOV members conducted a site visit to the PAMO 2008 competition in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa. Thirty-eight (38) students, representing 11 countries, participated in PAMO 2008. The eleven teams were from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. In addition, Egypt, Uganda, and Zambia were represented as observers. Based on total mathematics scores, awards were given to teams as well as individuals. South Africa won the Gold Medal (120 points), followed by Benin with the Silver (97 points), and Senegal with the Bronze (95 points). Twenty-four students received individual medals and seven (7) students received the distinction of honorable mention, which recognizes students with a perfect score on one of the six mathematics problems in the competition.

In August 2009, QEM Network submitted the Committee of Visitors’ final report to the Templeton Foundation. The report provides the results of the PAMOCOV’s review as well as its final recommendations and an associated action plan. Key findings include that the work of the Commission on the Pan African Mathematics Olympiad of the African Mathematical Union (AMUPAMO) is critically important in developing the human resources and intellectual capital of African countries. By virtue of its standing in Africa as the leading professional organization of African mathematicians and with its organizational structure of several focused commissions, the AMU is uniquely positioned to address the identification and development of African youth with mathematical talent. Education, especially in mathematics and science, will play a critical role in the future economic development of African nations. The findings of the PAMOCOV have potential for sustained impact by contributing to greater effectiveness of the AMU in reaching the best and the brightest young people in mathematics throughout Africa.


The PAMOCOV is an outgrowth of the Templeton Foundation- and National Science Foundation-funded International Workshop: Setting a Collaborative Mathematics Education Research Agenda for Africa and the United States, held July 31–August 1, 2006, in Dakar, Senegal. (Click HERE for more information on the Dakar Conference and HERE to view the Executive Summary of the Agenda.)  The first priority in the collaborative mathematics education research agenda formulated at the International Workshop was to identify and nurture mathematical talent. Responding directly to this priority, PAMOCOV focuses on examining the major effort in Africa that reaches gifted students in mathematics to nurture and develop their talent.

If you would like more information about the Templeton PAMO Committee of Visitors (COV) grant, please feel free to contact Shirley McBay, at (smmcbay1@qem.org).

About the John Templeton Foundation: The John Templeton Foundation was established in 1987 by renowned international investor, Sir John Templeton, to encourage a fresh appreciation of the critical importance — for all peoples and cultures — of the moral and spiritual dimensions of life. The John Templeton Foundation seeks to act as a critical catalyst for progress, especially by supporting studies which demonstrate the benefits of an open, humble and progressive approach to learning in these areas. It is the Foundation's purpose to stimulate a high standard of excellence in scholarly understanding which can serve to encourage further worldwide explorations of the moral and spiritual dimensions of the Universe and of the human potential within its ultimate purpose. ... From research on the neuroscience of creativity and intelligence to a first-ever bibliography on the benefits of accelerated programs for highly gifted young people, this emerging area of the Foundation focuses on a set of initiatives to communicate the nature, development, and benefits of scientific genius and creativity.... The Foundation currently funds more than 300 projects, studies, award programs and publications worldwide.