Adapting Age Old Proven Methods to Curb STEM Education Crisis in Kenya

Allan Ceryl Mwendwa from Carmelvale Catholic School (centre) receives a trophy from UCMAS Technical Director, Mr. Mayank Shah (behind him) at the 6th UCMAS National Competition Kenya 2019. Students solved 150-200 sums in 8 minutes to win the Championships.

Universal Concept Mental Arithmetic System, UCMAS Kenya has called on the Ministry of Education to make maths and sciences interesting by incorporating age old methods with 21st century skills in the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Speaking at the Annual UCMAS National Abacus Championships, The Technical Director Mr. Mayank Shah said, “In line with the new competency based curriculum – CBC in Kenya, UCMAS is designed for brain development and skills enhancement for children from the age of 5-13 years using a tool recommended by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development – KICD, “The ABACUS”. UCMAS Mental arithmetic develops the Right Hemisphere tremendously in Children and has many benefits like enhanced Concentration, Writing skills, Listening skills, Critical thinking, Creative thinking, Speed, Accuracy, Problem solving skills & better application skills.”

He noted that the use of incorporating the Abacus with modern Scientifically proven UCMAS Methodology and interactive learning Activities & materials will greatly improve student’s attitude achievement and confidence and trigger creativity.

UCMAS is a globally recognized and scientifically proven, child development program based on Mental Math and Abacus for children aged 5-13 years. It applies innovative pedagogical techniques developed by program specialists that include child development experts and child psychologists to leverage educational trends and to maintain a world-class quality program that delivers maximum benefits for students.

The Abacus provides countable beads for children to visualize numbers on a base-10 system. The children learn to manipulate those beads to perform arithmetic calculations such as addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, division & in future BOADMAS, Squares, Square roots Etc.

STEM education is expected to propel the country into becoming a middle level, knowledge driven economy, through motivating more students to pursue Mathematics and the Sciences, at all levels of education.

The UCMAS system provides an opportunity to create awareness of the fact that critical thinking will shape the future of innovation in Kenya. It provides techniques that should lead to quality and not quantity to keep students motivated and on track in order to achieve their best results.

The UCMAS method whole-brain development program builds foundational techniques that make learning math, effortless and enjoyable. By mastering these techniques using the Abacus, students develop the ability to think in pictures and quickly learn to perform large calculations mentally. Over time, students come to love a subject they may have once struggled with, or even feared. Attaining astonishing calculation speed and is actually the end-result of increasing the “brain-fitness”.

Students learn to focus for sustained periods, to manage their time while completing long series of sums, as well as, to concentrate on more than one task at the same time while. These are crucial life skills that students will use again and again.

UCMAS demands self-discipline and promotes the joy of lifelong learning and self-discovery. Students become motivated learners – the best route to success in academics and beyond.

UCMAS mental Arithmetic is running successfully in countries like UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Spain, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, India, Indonesia, China, Egypt, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania and in Kenya.