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June 7th, 2005

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COUNT Endorsement

Below is a letter from COUNT endorsing the use of Go in the SSGP to develop numeracy skills.

PO BOX 55072

Tel/Fax: (011) 462-6840

8th September 1996


We at COUNT were first introduced to Go at the recent Maths and Science
Carnival, co-ordinated by COUNT and held at the MuseumAfrica from the 17 to
21st July 1996.

The event was organised with a view to giving public exposure to the
importance of encouraging interest in the maths and science education fields.
This was done by providing a host of hands on activities for young children to
engage with.

The Go stand invited much interest and it was certainly one of the overall
highlights of the event.

COUNT as maths education project has been working for some years with
teachers and students in traditionally disadvantaged areas. Our intervention
is based on a number of approaches and is, where possible, activity based and
problem solving focussed.

We believe that the integration of Go into our existing programs would
provide a valuable adjunct to our work.

Firstly, teachers could be shown the rudiments of the game and be
encouraged to introduce it in their classroom both for enrichment and
remediation. It clearly encourages problem solving and strategic thinking and
is therefore totally consistent with many of the fundamental principles
endorsed by the new approach to primary mathematics, where a range of
approaches to get to the solution is encouraged.

It introduces an element of fun and excitement into the classroom, which is
most cases has been characterised by extreme formalism, often scaring children
off the subject.

We also run a Saturday school program in farm school areas north of
Johannesburg and feel sure that having the additional input of Go, organising
local committees, etc would greatly enhance pupils’ enthusiasm and encourage
the right kind of atmosphere that we are trying to inculcate. We are very
admiring of the work done by the association, where without any designated
funding they have been able to get interest in the game going and already
organised tournaments in the country. Too often games to do with mathematics
are tied up with either advertising or are essentially gimmick orientated.

Go clearly does not fit into this category. We feel that its dissemination
in the schools would do much to enhance the thinking of our students, who for
a variety of historical reasons have been demotivated and brainwashed to
believe that problem solving abilities and mathematical thinking is the sole
right of the privileged and intelligent few. Judging from the overwhelming
interest taken in the game at the carnival, we are sure that with the right
kind of implementation strategy and support Go could do much to rebore pupils
with the rightful confidence they need in tackling today’s problems. We
therefore wholly endorse it and would like to see funders make moves towards
getting it into the communities.

R.P. Smith

Program Manager
Organiser: Maths and Science Carnival 1996

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