The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) recently awarded the winners of its National Accounting and Maths Olympiad (NAMO) at its 2021 Accounting iNdaba conference.
"This year, we took the competition in a whole new direction and the results were outstanding," says Professor Rashied Small, Centre of Future Excellence (CoFE) Executive at SAIPA and developer of the Olympiad.
What is the NAMO?
The Institute's original National Accounting Olympiad was held annually since 2002 and was a much-anticipated event in the South African school calendar. Grade 11 and 12 pupils typically wrote two rounds of tests in their school's exam hall and the highest scoring students from each grade were declared the winners.
However, SAIPA has long recognised the need to prepare future-ready Professional Accountants (SA) who will excel in a world driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, and that their journey starts in the classroom.
SAIPA decided to add mathematics to its new Olympiad, a skill without which data-centric accountants cannot function effectively. "We also took the competition out of the exam hall and converted the Grade 12 format into a business case and solution presentation," says Small. Due to COVID-19, Grade 11 pupils took their mathematics and accountancy tests online.
The new competition format, renamed NAMO, has proven to be a great success.
Grade 11 winners
The Grade 11 mathematics winners were as follows. In first place was Bennet Bou, taking second place was Paballo Nkanyane and in third place was Luyolo Makhoba.
The Grade 11 accountancy winners were Malapi Mootane in first place, tied for second place was Lerutla Kampe and Kirsten Pretorius. While third place was taken by Refiloe Phelane.
Grade 12 winners
Not only did Grade 12 entrants take on a real-world business scenario that tested their maths and accounting skills to the limit; they also had to present their solution to a panel of expert judges who grilled them on their answers. In the end, the following emerged as the ultimate winners.
In first place was Nicole Nkomo, with Langelihle Mathenjwa taking second place and third place going to the Madiba Comprehensive School. Winners received cash prizes as well as gift prizes.
Thanks to sponsors
SAIPA thanks its sponsors without whom the 2021 NAMO would not have been possible, especially Ntanet Solutions for funding the cash prizes. "We are excited to be a part of this initiative that keeps Maths and Accounting alive. We trust that our contribution will play a part in keeping these brilliant young minds interested in these critical subjects," says Faruzana Sadiq, Director at Ntanet Solutions.
NAMO sponsors also included:
A new challenge
Professor Small has one last word for South Africa's Grade 11s and 12s: "This year, the NAMO was unlike anything we've done before but next year it's going to be even better, so here is your new assignment: Get ready to bring it on!"
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