Maths brings additional advantages
The 40th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) was held in Romania and I was selected to represent Hong Kong.
In the Olympiad, hundreds of young mathematicians gathered in a friendly atmosphere to exchange experiences of learning mathematics.
Mathematics has been my favourite subject since childhood. However, I did not have the chance to participate in mathematical competitions until I was in Form Four. At that time, I took part in a series of competitions and also passed the Hong Kong preliminary selection contest for IMO.
Following that, I took part in a training programme. I really learned a lot during the two years' training and learned mathematical knowledge other than that taught at school.
Under the Hong Kong education system, memorisation of facts is emphasised while training students to think logically is neglected.
Although I like mathematics, I do not particularly enjoy mathematics lessons at school. This is because teachers often fix the way of solving problems, and leave little space for us to develop our own methods.
We also can hardly learn mathematical knowledge outside the textbook, which teachers usually describe as 'not required in examinations'.
In mathematical Olympiads, there are no specific methods stipulated for solving problems. This enables us to develop critical thinking abilities. I also realise the importance of patience in solving problems.
While most mathematical problems at school can be solved without difficulty owing to the lack of variety, it may require hours to solve one Olympiad-type problem.
Training in tackling IMO problems enabled me to develop patience and determination, in addition to acquiring mathematical knowledge.
Our activities were not limited to the two weeks we spent in Romania. Technology has brought people closer together and we have been able to continue to communicate through the Internet.
What has made this technology possible? Mathematics. It has been said that 'mathematics is the mother of all sciences'.
Nobody can doubt the importance of mathematics to human society.
Ka-ho is a student of Queen Elizabeth School