From the desk of Marlene Mouton
I completed my BSc Ed degree at the then Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), now known as the University of Johannesburg(UJ). I was always passionate about education and became a Mathematics and Science teacher at Hoërskool Roodepoort from 1994 - 2000. Whilst being an educator I still continued offering extra Maths classes at my home and other venues from 2000 to today. In 2000 I embarked on a new journey as a Medical Representative for a Pharmaceutical Company and this provided me with invaluable sales experience.
I was appointed PAMA South Africa (Pan Asian Mathematics Association) President in 2012.This appointment enable students to participate annually at the PAMA Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Competitions around the world. This year we are taking 43 students to represent South Africa in USA. Previous year we competed in India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong . In 2015, my company, SEMAS SA, trading as A⁺Students was awarded ISDF (Institute of Soroban Diffusion Foundation) membership. This membership enables us to take a group of A⁺Students to an annual Soroban camp in Tokyo, Japan. This year will be our second attendance at the camp with 20 South African students. A⁺Students also scooped the ROCCI Roodepoort Chamber of Commerce and Industry) Small Business of year 2013 award and in 2014 the Educational Business of Year runner up. My greatest motivation for starting Soroban Education was the fact that I, as a matric Maths & Science teacher, witnessed first-hand how matriculants were struggling with Differentiation and many other Mathematical topics. Not because they don’t understand Differentiation for example, they do, but in the process of completing, showing the steps when they solve the problem, they lose most marks because they cannot add, subtract, multiply and divide.
In 2005, I saw an insert on Carte Blanche where 5 year old Japanese children were doing the most amazing sums adding, subtracting dividing and multiplying large numbers in seconds, mentally. I did not sleep for days and I eventually found Soroban Education and that was the start of our journey. Since then A+Students has participated in 7 international competitions. We have met the Science minister from Thailand and our sojourns into Asia cannot ever be measured. We have grown from just a handful of international participants to huge groups. We have gone from bronze medals and now we can even boast with gold and this was won competing against the best mathematicians in the world.