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Discovering the genius within

Give seven-year-old Shruthi an arithmetic problem like this 879658 X 678 and she would write down the answer in 10 seconds without using any calculator or by jotting down the calculations on a piece of paper. Well, not only Shruthi but any student from the UCMAS would be able to do the same with a slight variation in time.

What is this UCMAS? It is an institute with its roots in Malaysia and which has been promoting the efficacies of ancient arithmetic techniques with the use of tools like abacus through its numerous branches all over the world. The full form of the institute that also happens to be its motto stands as such Ultimate, Concentration, Memory, Accuracy and Speed.

Basing on this vision, the institute has been targeting children in the 4-12 age group to sharpen their intelligence and memory. "It is believed that 85 per cent of one's memory develops during this age and thus we concentrate on this group. Our programme is designed to improve the overall concentration and memory power and not limited to the mere methodologies of calculations. Once the children have a solid base, life becomes easier for them later, and this is our main intention. UCMAS does not produce or create good brains; it only helps to discover the aspect that is already planted in us, " says the local institute director, Navratan Tolasaria.

The ancient Chinese tool called abacus forms the base for this concept. It is used both as a play tool and an instrument for calculations. "It is believed that by using the abacus the entire brain is activated and it synchronises to focus on one particular point, and this helps towards improving the concentration and memory power," says he.

"A course at UCMAS could only be a supplement to the regular academic schedule for anybody but ever since I have undertaken this course I have been topping the class," says Shruthi, who studies in Std. III in Kalpakkam Atomic Energy Station School, Kalpakkam, near Chennai.

Be it abacus or Vedic mathematics it seems to be making a comeback in a big way.

S.B.

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