Chess opens doors to problem-solving

Nickey Scheepers, Amanda Fourie and Dr Christin Namucana from Moves For Life and
Esti Janse van Rensburg from Emnotweni.

MBOMBELA – Chess may hold the key to better education. Through its Moves For Life (TSMFL) project, Tsogo Sun hopes to unlock every child’s potential to become a world-class citizen by educating them through chess.

TSMFL is an initiative that uses chess as a tool for education. Project leader, Nickey Scheepers said chess helps to improve children’s mathematics, science and problem-solving skills.

“Other than the academic side of the programme, pupils fall in love with chess because they get to enjoy it as a sport while they are solving mathematical problems,” he said.

The team was in the city last week to explain the programme and called on local businesses to acquire it for schools.

The programme, is divided into two parts. The first is MiniChess which operates in the classroom as part of the curriculum in the foundation phase (grades R to three). The second one is MasterChess which is an extracurricular activity for grade four to 12 pupils. Teachers are trained to offer the best coaching to the participants.

Scheepers added that a factor which contributed to most people developing a negative attitude to maths from an early age was that, for a long time, it was taught without the necessary instrumentation to demonstrate how problems were solved. “It gets easier when the pupils are practically shown what subtraction and addition entail. It makes them fully understand what they are doing,” he said.

The programme has been ongoing since 2011 in a number of schools countrywide. More than 150 institutions are beneficiaries of the project and over 1 010 teachers have received training to successfully implement it at their schools. All this is done through big and small corporations that sponsor schools in their communities.

A total of 50 000 pupils all over South Africa are taught maths, science and life skills in the Moves for Life way, with exceptional results. This integrated project, which encompasses not only education, but also sports and culture, leads to pupils developing a different attitude to their schoolwork.

According to Scheepers, maths and science are potential subjects for job creation and should be prioritised in schools. “We cannot continue to import professionals from all over the world to our country. We need to start developing our own engineers and specialists, and we can only do that through training them from a young age,” he said.

Enquiries: 012-007-1310.

Trevor Hlungwani

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