SAICA's Accounting Olympiad goes digital

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The Tugela Secondary School, in KwaZulu Natal, participating in last year's edition of SAICA's Accounting Olympiad.
The Tugela Secondary School, in KwaZulu Natal, participating in last year's edition of SAICA's Accounting Olympiad.

The 2018 Accounting Olympiad, an annual accounting competition run by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), has gone digital.

Each year SAICA invites the top high school accounting pupils from various schools to put their accounting knowledge to the test, by participating in one of the country's biggest the accounting competition for schools.

This year's Olympiad, taking place from 13 to 17 August, will be different from previous events, as it is introducing an online system that allows participants to write their exam on an Internet enabled video-based program using Android tablets.

The Olympiad, according to SAICA, aims to give pupils the chance to test how well they have mastered the accounting syllabus, and to promote careers in accounting at school level, by helping to ensure learners develop a passion for the subject while they are still young.

Young achievers

"The SAICA Accounting Olympiad is a key part of SAICA's annual school project calendar, and exists to attract the next generation of young achievers to chartered accountancy as a career of choice," explains Matsoso Tsoaeli, SAICA project director for transformation and growth.

"Formerly written as a paper-based exam, this year's Olympiad will be written online so that learners become more acquainted to the demands of the more digitally-transformed learning environment, and also to ensure that more leaners in different parts of the country can take part."

Each of the 4 500 participants will be provided with an Android device, and will have their own secure log-in identity, the details of which will be explained to learners and teachers in advance. The multiple choice questions are based on mathematical formula, and marking is conducted via a true or false algorithm, according to SAICA.

"SAICA is working on various digitisation projects. Using technology at a school level through projects like SAICA's Accounting Olympiad, gives us the opportunity to develop learners' digital citizenship skills, it is also a great way to keep learners engaged and help them prepare for the technological expectation of their future careers," adds Tsoaeli.

Promoting accounting

Another change that SAICA has introduced this year, continues Tsoaeli, is allowing grade 8 learners to take part in the competition. By doing this, SAICA says it hopes to strengthen the work it does to promote the chartered accountant career at school level by catching and nurturing academic talent early.

"Participating schools are selected by the district coordinators of the provincial departments of education, in conjunction with SAICA. Once a specific school is selected, educators are tasked to identify learners who they believe have the most accounting talent and encourage them to enter the SAICA Accounting Olympiad."

The 2018 edition of the Accounting Olympiad, will take place over two rounds; the qualifying round of the Olympiad, takes place on 13 and 14 August. All learners who qualify for the final round need to log onto the Olympiad platform on 16 and 17 August to take part, and the names of the winners from each province will be announced on 31 August 2018.

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