Education Minister Ansu Dao Sonii on Wednesday, November 14, launched a new education program under the Universal Concept of Mental Arithmetic Systems (UCMAS) in Monrovia.
UCMAS is a child development program based on Visual Arithmetic and Abacus that boosts brainpower in children between the ages of four to 14 years.
Minister Sonii commended UCMAS for coming to Liberia, “because the learning skills of our kids in Mathematics will improve their learning capability drastically, and this is why we are excited to launch this initiative.”
He said the program also introduces a new methodology that enhances students’ capacity to be creative, innovative and to think very fast and add promptly.
According to Minister Sonii, the UCMAS program will give an early stage foundation and create excitement in the child’s brain, to prepare him or her to acquire thinking skills, concentration and the ability to form concepts, observe, calculate, infer and do mapping.
The Director of UCMAS in Ghana, Girish Gurbani, used the occasion to praise Mr. J. Wendell Addy, president of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, who he met on a flight while traveling to Sierra Leone on a UCMAS operation.
According to Gurbani, it was through a video interaction of the students that Mr. Addy saw, concerning the UCMAS program, that encouraged him to invite such an advanced education program to Liberia. “Therefore, I am pleased to be in the country for the launch.”
Gurbani, who came with one of the brilliant kids, an 11-year old from UCMAS Ghana, thrilled the audience when he allowed the boy to demonstrate his acquired skills to the amazement of the gathering, which included a cross-section of Liberian students.
He said many people often assume that learning mental arithmetic is merely a method to improve the speed and accuracy of calculations; for example, adding 10-digit numbers within a few seconds. By itself, it is already an amazing accomplishment for many of the children.
However, there is more to this, because when the children are learning UCMAS mental arithmetic, they are actually undergoing the process of developing other aspects of the mind.
The purpose of Gurbani’s coming with the 11-year old Prince Addo, is to encourage his Liberian counterparts (children) to put time to learn the “new” skills that would mathematically stimulate the cerebral energy of the child through the use of UCMAS’ tools.
In other countries, the UCMAS’ programs have strengthened the mathematical skills of children, encouraging the entire development of their brain to concentrate and become creative in solving complex mathematical problems.
According to Gurbani, recent studies have shown that the abacus method of mental calculation is effective in the development of the right brain. At first, the idea was only a hypothesis, but the recent development of high-tech machinery has helped to provide tangible research data for the program.
Headquartered in Malaysia, UCMAS is now accepted and practiced in over 58 countries worldwide, including Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Ghana and now Liberia.
Other countries are the United States, Canada, China, New Zealand, Australia, Saudi Arabia and France.
Little Prince, who quickly added and subtracted huge figures with the exact answers in just seconds, impressed his colleagues and teachers with his mathematics skills with thunderous applauds.
Ms. Elizabeth Addy, Director for UCMAS Liberia, underscored the importance of the new method of learning, which she said will help to mold the minds of some of Liberia’s best students in pursuit of their academic dreams.
“UCMAS-Liberia is making available to the Liberian educational system arithmetic, mental, ideal and innovative programs to aid in discovering the genius of our children and improve their performance in all areas,” she added.
Ms. Addy continued, “With a view to improving the education system in the country, we are looking forward to make our program eventually into the school system. Therefore, we strongly believe that this will have a positive performance impact in our national exams, overall academic and professional life of future generation.”
Yesterday’s event was attended by representatives of several schools, including directors, proprietors, head teachers and administrators in Monrovia and its immediate environs.