Mathematics Olympiads

Access resources.


Access English resources.
past papers

Past Papers

Access past year papers.


Elearning resources.



REGISTRATION NO: 2015/050119/08



  1. Introduction

FEMSSISA (Foundation for English ; Mathematics; Sciences; Sports and Innovation of South Africa) is a registered Non Profit Company and has been operating from 1998.

The organization has made a big impact in Mathematics; Sciences; English; Sports and Innovation

  1. Mathematics Olympiads

In 1998 the first Grade Three Mathematics Olympiad was held. This was a one round Olympiad. 103 schools with approximately 3000 learners participated. The organization was known as the Institute for Advancement of Mathematics and Science. Medals were awarded to the top performing learners. The first awards function was held at Durban Girls College. Many of the top achievers ended up as actuaries; engineers; medical doctors etc.

Gradually grades one and two were introduced. To our surprise educators were actually coaching their learners.

Gradually these Olympiads were changed to two rounds.

In 2011 all the Olympiads were merged under one umbrella body, FEMSSISA.

FEMSSISA organizes a two round Olympiad from grades one to eleven. The first round is multiple choice whilst the final round is open ended. The first round was free. In 2017 a nominal fee will be charged for the first round. The mathematics Olympiads are grade specific.

The Olympiads are at 3 levels: routine curriculum problems; enrichment and challenging non routine problems.

Certificates and medals are awarded.

Certificates are awarded in 4 categories:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze

Historically disadvantaged learners are given a concession.

Qualification into the final round is 35{ab48c22b1dc965a23d42a61198584d101919bfabd4afcd6f4e838926847d2448}.

Question papers with answers are available on the website. Schools are encouraged to download and factor same into teaching.

Examiners and moderators are appointed as follows:-

  • Foundation Phase
  • Primary: Grades 4-7
  • Junior High: grades 8-9
  • Senior High: grades 10-11

The invigilation for Foundation Phase allows each teacher to read out the question. This concession was based on research by Dr Elizabeth Fenema from the United States. Learners are also given number charts.

No calculators are allowed.

All participants are given special answer sheets.

Statistics from 2016

2016 – First Round 100 000+ participated

Final Round 6 000+

2017 – First Round 120 000+participated

Final Round 8 000+

2018 – First Round 140 000 + participated

Final Round – 8 000+

2019 – First Round 150 000+

Final Round – 8 000+

One of the biggest challenges is the poor performance of learners.

The first round is directly related to the curriculum. The first 10 problems is classroom Mathematics. The next 5 is curriculum enrichment and the last 5 is of a non-routine nature.

At grade 11


12 – 22+32– 42 + 52 – 62 + …..+492 – 502 + 512

Many learners could not see this as a simple Arithmetic Sequence.

The computational skills of learners leave much to be desired.


  1. Teacher Development Courses and Workshops in Mathematics Problem Solving

FEMSSISA has designed 4 courses in Mathematics Problem Solving.

They are as follows:-

  • Foundation Phase
  • Primary: Grade 4-7
  • Junior High: Grades 8-9
  • Senior High: Grades 10-11

Each course is supported by a booklet.

In 2016 .4 full day workshops were held in Durban. 193 educators; subject advisors and officials from the MST unit attended. The feedback was very positive.

In 2017 we covered more than 120 educators in the Billy Nair Circuit. We did another 100 educators in the iLembe district.

In 2018 we completed 4 teacher development mathematics problem solving courses for educators from the historically disadvantaged areas.

We covered 220 educators from the Umlazi Circuit

We also covered 28 Foundation Phase Educators for NAPTOSA

In 2019 we did 170 educators in the UGU district

We also did 50 educators at Northlen Primary

FEMSSISA networks with eSkilz. The courses have been accredited by SACE. Each course carries 15 PD points

We intend video teaching all four courses.

Every Mathematics Educators needs to be a Problem Solver

  1. International Participation

4.1 FEMSSISA participated in the following International Contests

(a) WIZMIC Under 14 Mathematics Contest in 2011 and 2014. 60 teams from throughout the world participated. Won 13 bronze and one silver medal in 2014.

One major success story is that of Precise Mbense who accompanied the team to India to participate Internationally. In Grade 12 she achieved 7 distinctions. She is in her final year of study at UCT doing Engineering. She is from a deep rural area north of Durban. Another success story is Nokutula. She obtained 5 distinctions and in her 4th year of study in the medical field to become a doctor.

(b) International Mathematics and Science Olympiad for under 12 in India and Thailand in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Won 2 bronze medals in Mathematics and 4 bronze medals in Science.

(c) 6th International English Odyssey in Lucknow India in 2014.

Won one medal

Standard of English in India is very high.

(d) International school sports Olympiad in India. 60 teams participated. Won 9 gold; 14 silver and 2 bronze medals in Athletics. Won the athletics championship

With 9 athletes

(e) IYMIC which is an international mathematics event for under 16 and under 18 learners. Won 5 bronze and one silver medal. Justin Parsuraman won the silver medal. He worked 5 out of 8 problems.

If he had 6 right he would have won a gold medal.

  1. 2 All our learners who participated internationally and in our Innovation Programme were among the top learners in Kwazulu Natal in the National Senior Certificate Examination

(a) The 3 learners from Port Shepstone High School were the top learners from the UGU district. Justin Parsuraman had 8 distinctions including 99{ab48c22b1dc965a23d42a61198584d101919bfabd4afcd6f4e838926847d2448} in Mathematics and 95{ab48c22b1dc965a23d42a61198584d101919bfabd4afcd6f4e838926847d2448} in the National Bench Mark Test. The other two learners had over 90{ab48c22b1dc965a23d42a61198584d101919bfabd4afcd6f4e838926847d2448} in Mathematics and over 90{ab48c22b1dc965a23d42a61198584d101919bfabd4afcd6f4e838926847d2448} in the National Bench Mark Test.

( b) Precise Mbense from Fairbreeze Secondary obtained 7 distinctions including 89{ab48c22b1dc965a23d42a61198584d101919bfabd4afcd6f4e838926847d2448} in Mathematics.

(c) Kival from Tongaat Secondary obtained 7 distictions and Misbah obtained 6 distinctions. Kival obtained 94{ab48c22b1dc965a23d42a61198584d101919bfabd4afcd6f4e838926847d2448} in NBT.

(d) Jadene Meghraj from Glenhaven obtained 7 distinctions.

(d) Three other students obtained 7 distinctions each.

4.3 In 2016

(a) Participated in the 7th International English Odyssey. Over 60 Junior and Senior teams from throughout the world participated. Won 3 awards. Manelisi Ntshangase who won the  award for being the most versatile Junior English Student. He is from Wingen Heights Secondary. This contest is of a very high standard.

(b) Participated in WIZMIC ( Under 14 International Mathematics Olympiad in Lucknow; India. 48 teams from throughout the world participated. We took 6 teams. One team was selected by eThekwini Municipality. A coaching booklet and a DVD was used for the purposes of coaching. FEMSSISA won 16 bronze medals. The cherry on the top was one of the grade 7 learners from Umlazi won a bronze medal. This was the first in the history of Umlazi. At one learners home it was discovered they did not have electricity. The Mayor intervened to ensure that this family had electricity. CASME was also part of this project.

(c) Participated in IYMC (International Youth Mathematics Convention) in Lucknow; India. 19 countries and 144 teams participated. This was done in 3 categories.

Primary (10-13 years); Junior High (14-15 years) Senior High (16-18 years). 3 coaching booklets were used accompanied by DVDs (video teaching)

FEMSSISA won 13 bronze and 1 silver medal.

Our curriculum is 2 years behind that of other countries.

In 2018 we participated in IYMC in Lucknow ; India

Most of our learners came from Star College; Durban

Erol Aslan coached our teams

We won 16 bronze and 1 silver medal.


The countries that excel are:-

  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam
  • Sri Lanka
  • India

It is after these countries that FEMSSISA is placed.

In the primary category their level of mental mathematics is very good.

All learners have exceptional computational skills.


  1. Innovation Programmes

FEMSSISA has run Innovation programmes from 2011 as follows:-

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Sciences
  • Study skills; concentration; careers

These programmes acted as springboard for many of the top learners in the country.

  1. Vishnu Naidoo

In 2017 Vishnu Naidoo (Chairperson: FEMSSISA) participated in an International Principals Conference in Lucknow ; India. He presented a paper and conducted a workshop on technology and education.

  1. National Bench Mark Test (NBT)

In 2014 Vishnu Naidoo and Deevashan Naidoo coached over 80 learners to write

the NBT in Mathematics.

At the end of 2014 the first NBT Preparation Book was produced. Every topic was

video taught. This book and the 2 DVDs proved a huge success.

Over 1500 learners at Grade 12 level were assisted with university entrance.

  1. Video Teaching and Learning

FEMSSISA started Video Teaching and Learning from 2011. As from 2014 the

State of the Art Technology has been used. Books have been written for

Mathematics; NBT; Physical Sciences and Olympiad Coaching. These books

have been video taught. There is no camera involved in the teaching. This is the

best technology in the world.

Schools need to set up video teaching and learning rooms. FEMSSISA has the

expertise and knowledge to set up these rooms. Video teaching and learning

room has been set up at Space Age Independent School.


  1. National Senior Certificate Support in Mathematics and Physical Sciences

In 2017 we helped 1000 learners in respect of Mathematics Revision in the

Umlazi and Chatsworth area.

We also helped the following schools

9.1 Ogwini Comprehensive

9.2 Vukuzakhe

9.3 Zwelibanzi

  1. Critique of National Senior Certificate Mathematics Papers

FEMSSISA found problems with 118 marks in Paper One.

This issue was escalated to Ministerial level. DBE Minister agreed to adjust the

marks after marking which was not done.


  1. National Science Week

FEMSSISA hosted National Science Week in 2016;2017;2018;2019


  1. English Olympiads

FEMSSISA is responsible for English Olympiads from Grades 6 to 11.

FEMSSISA is a service provider for:

e-learning( Video Teaching); online teaching; mathematics laboratories and resources supported by technology.

We have the resources to address South Africa’s issues in respect of Mathematics and Sciences.

P.O. Box 1028



Contact: Tel/Fax: 032 9415935

Cell: 0845915935

Send us your Request

Speak to one of our  friendly and helpful staff over the phone? Just submit your details and we’ll be in touch shortly.

Note: Your details are kept strictly confidential as per our Privacy Policy.

Contact Form