On the situation with olympiads for now

On the situation with olympiads for now

I try here to show my vision of the mathematical Olympiad movement in Ukraine, without complaints about the absoluteity and undeniability of these opinions, on the contrary, as an invitation to discussion…

  1. Preamble
  2. International Olympiads
  3. About All-Ukrainian Olympiads
  4. About on-line olympiads


In general, all our actions must correspond to the situation in the country and/or the decision taken regarding the level of quarantine measures. You certainly can't break them in any way. I just wish they were adequate. When the country starts working metro, in particular in Kiev, it will be strange if there will be a ban on mass gatherings, because in each subway car there are at least 50-80 people, and this is without crush. Therefore, let's observe the development of the situation regarding restrictive measures and prepare for further actions.

International Olympiads

I will describe the current situation with mathematical olympiads, because it is better known. Well, mathematical Olympiads are not only the oldest on the planet (both national and local levels in general, and international), but also the most flexible in adapting to different situations. IMO management is very reasonable and effective, so most other International Olympiads will either take advantage of the advice of IMO management or together look for a way to hold events in the current conditions. At least the option of canceling the Olympiad is not provided. It is not known what other surprises nature will prepare us, and therefore it is better to have certain solutions regarding the ways of conducting IMO right now.

At the moment, the situation with the IMO is as follows: the Olympiad is pre-postponed to September, the option for countries is standard, that is, the arrival of leaders and participants will take place in accordance with the program of the event. But there is already a prediction that not every country will be able to safely get to the IMO venue. Therefore, the issue of participation of some countries in the "non-arrival" mode to the event is discussed. It is still quite far from final decision-making. It is possible that there will be a shift of the final decision into one (participation of all countries is only possible with their presence) or another (all countries participate in absentia) side, but for now I have described the situation.For us and for other countries, it means the main thing – international institutions are ready and willing to hold an event, realizing that for most of its participants such an event can take place only once in a lifetime. 

About All-Ukrainian Olympiads

In general, by order of the acting Minister of Education and Science, all Olympiads of the IV stage were canceled. Initially, there was an order to hold the Olympiads of the IV stage in the usual period, then – the IV stage only for subjects for which there are International Olympiads, now they are canceled, perhaps, for this year definitively.But let's think about why these orders have changed – obviously, it is not a err or some arbitrariness, it is a reaction to the situation in the country and the world. Perhaps in the coming weeks-months there will still be changes in one direction or another. It is possible that the sun, heat, the result of the introduction of quarantine measures, the search for a vaccine, etc., or all this together will improve the situation and the world will gradually begin to return to the usual open life. And perhaps the opposite when some countries or entire regions introduce restrictions on the movement of citizens. Therefore, the main thing for us is not to violate the existing norms of behavior in the country at some point.

Let's just express our opinions on the Olympiads and put forward to discuss the issue of canceling their holding .

  1. It is possible to remove restrictive measures on the movement of Ukrainian citizens and mass gatherings of people, in particular children, in one place.
  2. Conducting a trial, basic external testing and additional session. These events will not be canceled and will take place at a time when their holding will cease to contradict the decision taken in the country. Therefore, the gathering of children in one room will take place, and it is impossible to do without the movement of children, at least within the city limits, from rural schools to district centers, etc.
  3. The defense of the works of the ManU was postponed to the fall of 2020.
  4. Ukraine's teams are waiting for international olympiads at their competitions.
  5. The heads of the jury of almost all Olympiads, as well as mathematicians, want to hold the IV stage of their Olympiads by the beginning of September 2020.

Obviously, all this is not enough to easily conduct the IV stage of olympiads. But it gives hope that "not everything is lost!" As soon as we see the conditions and form of the EIT, it will be necessary to consider whether it will be possible to discuss the possibility of holding the iv stage of olympiads with a similar level of safety for children.We already have some experience in olympiads. This is the standard usual format when all children and the jury gather in one place. This was always the case until spring 2020 and we did not even expect a different approach for official Olympiads.

But during the quarantine, we tried a different format. This is a situation where participants simply sit at home, receive tasks, no one strictly controls the process of completing tasks, and at some point they send a copy of their work. Thus, thematic Olympiads were held for everyone of 4-11 grades, approximately in this format this year's EGMO was held. I immediately emphasize that this format of the IV stage of the Olympiad is not possible. More precisely, it is impossible to recognize its results. Therefore, the status of the official mother can not.This is where public opinion is needed, which you see the possible format of the IV stage of olympiads in existing conditions. Namely, what format of the event may be acceptable for its official recognition. So that we do not doubt the honesty of the results of the participants. I note at once that it is much easier for us here compared to some natural Olympiads with practical tours, as well as humanitarian ones, where it is necessary to communicate with the jury. Therefore, I ask you to worry mainly about clues that can be useful in conducting mathematical olympiads. For example, the inadmissibility of stage IV in the fall is immediately obvious. At least in the full format, because most of the current 11th-graders will already be concerned about other problems and surely not everyone will be able to participate at this stage.

The main thing that I would like to count on from our like-minded people, from those who are looking for ways to solve the problem, and not to hide behind the circumstances.Therefore, please be prepared to discuss possible dates, possible ways. I hope that most of our citizens do not plan special trips outside the country, as well as even within Ukraine.In addition, it must be understood that there is a certain probability that our efforts will be in vain and this year's IV stage will not be able to be carried out. But now in the "Regulations on holding olympiads…" determination of the team on the IMO is possible only on the results of the IV stage. In the case of its complete cancellation (it is clear that due to certain force majeure circumstances), there will probably be the possibility of using force majeure actions to determine the team. But let's not raise unnecessary publicity on this issue yet, because this will definitely not be in favor of our cause. 

About on-line olympiads

This was the first experience of such Olympiads. They were launched in a short quarantine period so that children could "warm up" while they were sitting at home. But the continuation of quarantine caused the following problems: students – jury members, who had to simply get a "two-week vacation" and gladly responded to the inspection of thematic Olympiads, began to load at the university under the full program. At the same time, most items are not so easy to master under such conditions. Therefore, the inspections of these Olympiads are somewhat delayed, because the team remained the most enduring and responsible.As for the participants of the Olympiad, it is worth emphasizing the following. This is from his many years of experience. I will give the most typical example without declaring the surname of the child. Once upon a time at a city olympiad, a child came to the appeal and said that it was not her cleaner, but a draft. We could not find his draft, and then his parents joined in and accused the jury of dishonesty, prejudice and all other sins. We began to ask the child, and what was in the purgatche, and the child, looking us in the eye, began to tell us that compared to this "draft", which we considered, he had everything done there according to the written tasks. In general, we did not know what to do under such conditions, because there was no reason not to believe the child. Unless you credit him with the stated tasks for the full ball, because the loss of the cleaner is our fault. But the last time we seemed to be about 5-7 people, we went and sorted through all 1,200 drafts and found his draft, about which the child said it was a cleaner. It turned out to be exactly the same as in the presented work, but more dirty. That is, there were no "complete solutions". When we showed this to the child and the parents, it seems that the parents very modestly apologized or simply accepted our arguments, but the child was clearly desperate that the deception failed and no repentance for his, I believe, shameful, act was not. This is just one of a bunch of examples of relations between parents, children, the jury, the organizing committee, it is very visual. And the fascists called us parents for their condescilers, and anything…

Therefore, even now we can not accept such arguments as explanations when almost the same works are sent – "children visit the same circle and think the same", when the wrong solution of the problem on the Internet is completely repeated in the work – "the child himself solved" when the work is written "on the 17th page of the famous problem solver there is an appropriate theorem" – "the child did not use anything", and so on.To the positive, I want to note that such works were a very insignificant part. Most of the works were written in such a way that there was no reason to consider them to be dishonest. And they often corrected well with the results of the Olympiads of the second and third stages.But it is using such experience that we need to think over and come up with the form of holding our events, if we want to consider their results as correct as possible. Or carry them out online in the future, but according to strictly described rules, where proper control is possible. Or simply consider them not official.

I want to note that the ethics committee works for IMO. He is concerned about various issues. In particular, it monitors whether children of inappropriate age (20+) are not involved in the IMO, or whether they are already university students, etc. At the same time, decisions are usually not taken immediately, and the investigation may take several years, after which a decision is made to disqualify the results of the participants of the olympiads of previous years. It was at this commission that a decision was made regarding our two-time Olympiad winner Cheplyak, who claimed that his teacher Mittelman helped him at these Olympiads, being a coordinator. The commission puts all these proposals to the vote of the leaders of the countries and they are usually approved by a majority vote.From the latest decisions of this commission, we note the disqualification of the work of three participants of one of the countries in which a complex geometric problem was solved equally. At the same time, in many strong teams, this task was solved by 1-2 participants.Also at the last Olympiad were fined 2 works of participants, who after the signal on the tour "stopped working" tried to add something.Take care of yourself and your loved ones…

Be healthy!

Get ready for the next Olympiads!




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