THE Trinidad and Tobago Chemistry Olympiad (TTChO) held its its first national competition which was won by junior chemist – Zakareeyah Hosein of Couva East Secondary School and senior chemist Dipak Anthony Balladin of Naparima College.
The TTChO is an outreach project of the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus. It was launched at the FST’s Science and Technology Week in September 2019.
The TTChO hosts the leading chemistry competition for students in secondary education across TT. It exposes them to an international chemistry examination – the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), and affords them the opportunity to not only compete in a prestigious arena, but also to meet and network with fellow chemistry enthusiasts, the release said.
The olympiad committee is overseen by the FST dean’s office, and comprises Dr Nigel Jalsa, Dr Terry Mohammed and Laura Rambaran-Seepersad. The national olympiad has the support of both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs.
The TTChO described its first national competition as a "resounding success," engaging over 800 students from 30 schools.
At a prize-giving ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne presented accolades to the young scientists, Hosein and Balladin. The minister, himself being an academic winner and son of a chemistry teacher, encouraged and motivated the students and lauded their accomplishment. Browne shared his experience having competed in national competitions at the secondary school level and the impact it had on his life, and how it prepared him for the roles he serve today. Both the minister and acting permanent secretary Reita Toussaint praised the efforts of the TTChO.
In her introduction of the TTChO Rambaran-Seepersad shared the words of 1904 Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry, Sir William Ramsay: “The country which is in advance of the rest of the world in chemistry will also be foremost in wealth and in general prosperity.”
The TTChO said it hopes to host the international competition and is also preparing for the 2021 competition.
Having satisfied the IChO’s two-year observer status requirement, the TTChO said it is preparing a national team for the 2021 IChO in Osaka, Japan (to be held virtually due to covid19) and each subsequent year– China 2022, Switzerland 2023, Saudi Arabia 2024 and The United Arab Emirates 2025 and continuing. The release said TT will be the first Caricom country to participate. Each national delegation consists of up to four students, two mentors and may also include guests and scientific observers. Students must be under 20 years and must not be enrolled as regular students in any post-secondary education institution.
The first IChO was held in Prague in 1968 and has grown to now host around 80 countries annually. It is the most prestigious chemistry-specific tournament held globally, the release said. The International Information Center of the IChO is based in Bratislava, Slovakia. The standard and syllabus content of the IChO is typically at a higher level than what the average high school student would be exposed to. The qualifying exams of the TTChO reflect these higher level skills, and are adjusted for age.
For more info: e-mail Laura Rambaran-Seepersad at email@example.com, or visit https://www.ttcho.com/.