PAN AFRICAN CONGRESS OF MATHEMATICIANS 2013
The 8th PACOM was held in Abuja, Nigeria from 1st July, 2013 to 8th July, 2013. There were 190 registered participants at the congress from 12 African countries, with special invitees from USA, UK, Canada, Papua New Guinea, Germany and China.
The opening ceremony was held at International Conference Centre, Abuja on 1st July, 2013. It was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Education while the special guest of honour was the first lady of Nigeria, Dr.(Mrs) Dame Patience Jonathan.
The Director and CE of the National Mathematical Centre, Abuja Prof. A.R.T. Solarin in his opening remarks expressed his delight to all the visitors, and the Minister of Education, Prof. (Mrs.) Ruqquatau Rufa’i (OON). He registered special appreciation to Her Excellency, Dame Patience Jonathan for finding time to personally attend the opening ceremony. He informed the gathering PACOM is an international event that brings together distinguished mathematicians from across the African continent.
He enumerated the benefits of Nigeria hosting 2013 PACOM as:
1. Opportunity for mathematicians from other African countries to have first-hand information about Nigeria’s transformation agenda in the various sectors especially in education.
2. Opportunity to appreciate Nigeria’s effort to lead Africa out of poverty and underdevelopment.
3. Afford comparison of curricula and research findings.
4. Encouragement to young African mathematicians to strive for excellence in mathematical sciences.
He noted that the NMC has participated in International Mathematical Olympiads since 2005 to date as well as in the Pan African Olympiads (PAMO) also since 2005 to date.
He expressed his gratitude to African Mathematical Union (AMU) for granting Nigeria the hosting rights of the 22nd and 8th editions of PAMO and PACOM respectively. Finally, he acknowledged the support of the first lady of Nigeria and the Minister of Education, in Nigeria for the success of this hosting and extended his appreciation to the President and Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for the confidence he reposed on NMC.
In her own address, the Honourable Minister of Education expressed her happiness to be among distinguished mathematicians across African countries in this meeting. She said that the theme of the congress was apt and timely as it aligned with the key role of the Federal Ministry of Education in the pursuit of Mr. President’s transformation agenda as well as the Ministry’s current four-year strategic plan.
The minister reported the cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) and the entire mathematical community in Nigeria, namely, NMC, Nigerian Mathematical Society (NMS) and the Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN). She therefore welcomed all the visitors to Nigeria and declared the congress open.
The first lady declared her delight in welcoming all participants to the PACOM 2013 and the closing ceremony of PAMO. She congratulated the Honorable Minister of Education, the Director and CE of NMC on the hosting of PAMO and PACOM. She iterated the importance of mathematics in the development of science and technology. She acknowledged the efforts being made by NMC to strengthen and reposition the teaching and learning of mathematics to include publication of text books mathematics for students and teachers, retraining of teachers at all levels Olympiad competitions at all levels, production of mathematics kits, introduction of mental arithmetic, development of mathematical games, organization of local and international competitions including breaking of Guinness World Records in the largest mathematics class as well as African Rubik Cube competition.
She said education is one of the focal points of the present administration under the leadership of our amiable president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR and that the president is taking education very serious in all its ramifications. She also emphasized that the teaching and learning of mathematical sciences is an integral part of the education of a child. Hence the federal government will continue to support the Centre in all her activities and programmes designed to improve the teaching of mathematics in schools. She congratulated the Centre for hosting the PAMO in Nigeria for the second time.
The first lady expressed her delight that NMC has taken up the initiative of identifying and encouraging female students in mathematics with the programme called the mathematical Queen. She concluded by congratulating the winners of this year’s African and Nigerian mathematics Queens and charged them to influence all girls in Africa in the study of mathematical sciences. Finally, she wished the PACOM delegates a successful deliberation.