Kids find calculation
a piece of cake
By Carol Ko
While the whole world is using computers, a mathematics training centre is teaching their kids to use the abacus.
According to Mr. Samuel Chan Lok Kin, the executive director of the Equilibrium Mathematics Training Centre, the aims of this training are not only to teach students to use the abacus, but also to enhance their memory.
Mr. Chan said, “We believe with abacus training, young kids perform better in mathematics. In any case, abacus calculation is a rather practical skill that should be learned.”
One parent of a Primary 4 girl agrees with Mr. Chan.
Said she: “Although it is quite time-consuming to take my kid here, the time and money spent are nonetheless worth it all.”
She added that her child has always performed well at school except in mathematics. She later found that her child had improved in the subject after joining the course.
There were approximately 20 young kids in one class. Each one was holding an abacus, their small fingers moving the beads up and down.
One boy expressed his experience in mastering the abacus this way: “It was difficult at first, but when I got used to it, it became easier.”
Nevertheless, some worry that the calculations given to the young kids might be too complicated for them.
“Actually, the exercises are not difficult for the kids at all,” said Mr. Chan.
“In our training centre, kindergarten kids are merely exposed to the basic function of the abacus. They can learn it step by step,” he said.
In fact, the abacus, an ancient calculation apparatus, is gaining popularity in Hong Kong.
The centre is now conducting courses in some local schools such as Wah Yan College and Kiangsu-Chekiang College.
Since abacus training is gaining in popularity, some suggest that it should be included the formal school curriculum.
In the light of this, Mr. Chan said, “Of course we do wish abacus mental training to be included in the formal curriculum. But this is out of our control. At the time being, there is still much controversy over abacus training.”