Star College students represent South Africa at International Chemistry Olympiads
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As the world watches the finest athletes compete in the Tokyo Olympics, another group comprising of gifted young students are demonstrating incredible skill in the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) 2021-Japan. The science competition has this year has been held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Star College Bridgetown paid great attention to national as well as international Olympiad studies and the commitment and dedication paid off with 4 students being selected from Star College to participate as a part of the South Africa Olympiad team.
The President of the IChO Japan Committee, Kohei Tamao said that this year the invitation letters, including examination guidelines, have just been sent to mentors in the 84 participating countries and regions. The IChO 212 Japan’s virtual opening was held on July 25th and the students have joined theory examination on July 28.
Over the last 20 years, the National Science Olympiad Organising Committee has been hard at work organising and promoting the South African Science Olympiads in the fields of Natural Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences for primary and secondary school students nationally. The South African government has been promoted the Science Olympiads through an initiative called ‘Youth into Science Strategy’. The Department of Education, Department of Science and Technology and Provincial Departments are actively involved in support of the Olympiads.
“The Shortlist team for ICHO were selected according to the Results of the National Physical Science Olympiad which was written on 2nd September 2020. Thereafter, selected learners wrote another test on 14 April 2021 and according to the results of this exam, the National team was selected. 3 students from Star College were immediately selected for Team South Africa Following the withdrawal of other possible participants, the team was completed after the selection of 4 grade 11 Learners from Star College Bridgetown.” Star College Bridgetown principal Ugur Patli detailed as he shared the success of his school.
Patli said that Muhammed Mahdi da Costa, Mohammed Tanweer Ali, Erkam Cihan Caglak and Abdul Baasit Saile are the students from Star Bridgetown, Cape Town who qualified for ICHO 2021 Japan.
Patli mentioned that learners would normally be assigned two examinations; one being a Practical exam and the other a Theoretical Exam. The time allocated for each exam is 5 hours. This year organisers cancelled the Practical exam. Learners wrote only a theoretical exam on July 28.
“It was an unexpected surprise to me when I was informed of my selection for the ICHO team for South Africa. I have written the selection exam, of course, but one never expects to be selected amongst the elite of the entire country” Star Bridgetown student Muhammad Mahdi Da Costa expressed his feelings.
“By some blessing Mr Patli, Star College Bridgetown, Chemistry Teacher and Principal, offered to tutor myself and the team personally. Our days were spent in our usual classes and our nights spent on Zoom meetings with Mr Patli, meticulously opening the doors of chemistry. Often, we would stay after school or come to school on the weekends to study. I can only say that effort counts for anything the team excelled due to just that… Writing an online test in itself was a new experience but writing an online International paper was a once in a lifetime opportunity” Star Bridgetown grade 11 learner Mahdi Da Costa thanked his teacher.
“The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) is an annual competition for the world’s most talented chemistry students at the secondary school level. Around 80 countries send a team of four students who are tested on their chemistry knowledge and skills in a five-hour laboratory practical exam and a five-hour written theoretical examination that are held on separate days with the practical examination usually being before the theoretical examination.” The IChO 2021 Japan statement confirmed.
“All participants are ranked based on their individual scores and no official team scores are given. Gold medals are awarded to the top 12% of students, silver medals are awarded to the next 22% of students, and bronze medals are awarded to the next 32% of students. Honourable mentions are awarded to the top 10% of non-medallist participants. One special award is given to the student that achieves the highest score overall.
The idea of the International Chemistry Olympiad was developed in the former Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the first International Chemistry Olympiad took place in Prague between 18th and 21st June 1968.”