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UCT Mathematics Competition

About the Competition

The UCT Mathematics Competition, established in 1977, is an annual event for high schools in the Western Cape, held on the University of Cape Town campus.

About 7000 high school students participate in the competition each year, and invitations are sent to 400 high schools in the Western Cape. Each school can enter five individuals and five pairs per grade. Separate question papers are set for each grade, from 8 to 12. There is no entry fee.

Trophies, calculators and book prizes are awarded for the best performances, and Gold, Merit and Participation certificates are awarded to all participants.

Objectives of the competition

The objectives of the competition are:

  • to popularise mathematics among high schools in Western Cape
  • to raise awareness among both learners and teachers that mathematics is a subject that is enjoyable and accessible for all
  • to identify promising students and offer them opportunities for further development of their mathematical talents
  • to attract students to study mathematics at UCT.

Our logo

"The Oracle" is the title of a water feature on the Jameson Hall plaza of UCT, close to the Mathematics Building. It was designed in 1987 by Bruce Arnott, Professor in the Department of Fine Art and adopted, with the permission of Professor Arnott, as the logo of the UCT Mathematics Competition in 1993.

A nearby plaque reads: "Bruce Arnott uses concentric circles of substance, space and contained movement. The central turbulent void suggests beginning, roundness suggest wholeness, stone suggests permanence and resistance, flowing water suggests flux and process, and change is suggested by permutations of broken and unbroken lines in the I CHING trigrams on the Taoist sun disc. The trigrams have specific meanings in an ancient Taoist context (although these are considered more stylistic than accurate), and Arnott notes that all the trigrams have a binary structure, or two beats to a bar, and he suggests that the disc as a whole may be described as 'a computing apparatus with psychoanalytical and prognosticatory potentials... Depending on the rules devised, the disc might also suggest a children's game, the form of a poem or novel, or the structure of a symphony or an economic theory'."