National Soroban Competition for the Kingdom of Tonga was held on Thursday, 12 March 2020 at the Queen Salote College Hall. The Competition was co-organized by the Embassy of Japan and the Ministry of Education and Training, and attend by Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni, Minister for Education and Training and His Excellency, Mr. ISHII Tetsuya, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga. Present also to witness the competition were Dr. Tangikina Steen, CEO for the Ministry of Education and Training, Mr. MATSUI Nobuaki, JICA’s Resident Representative, soroban teachers, parents and supporters of over 200 young soroban competitors from Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua island.
His Excellency Mr. ISHII highlighted that “the significance of Soroban is not only good for improving your Calculation Skills, but also for boosting your Concentration and encouraging Confidence.” He thanked the commitment from Tonga’s Ministry of Education in co-hosting the competition every year, since 2010. “Through soroban we share a culture and educational bond of friendship that is held together by our commitment for providing our children with a good education,” said the Ambassador.
In the keynote address, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni emphasized that soroban in a very important skill that needs to be taught and pass on to Tonga’s young generation. “Our responsibility is to nurture our students and provide them with the best possible education. Education is a key pillar for economic and sustainable development, and Maths is an essential element to support sustainable development and to improve the livelihoods of our people.” He thanked the Ambassador for the on-going support to teach soroban in Tonga, and congratulated the young winners of the competition, and encourage the primary students to study soroban with gratitude and pride.
The National Soroban Competition engaged classes 4 and 5 soroban students from all over the Kingdom of Tonga, to compete in three categories; 100 equation/ eight minutes written examination, oral examination and flash examination. Prizes were awarded to the winners of each category, and every year the winner of the class 5 written category is nominated to participate in the soroban camp in Japan, later in the year.
The Ambassador acknowledged the successful cooperation from all stakeholders; Tonga’s Ministry of Education, JICA Tonga and Japan’s International Soroban Diffusion Foundation at the reception
which he hosted in the evening, at his residence.