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Kenyan schools have introduced this mental arithmetic and parents are freaking out

Over 15 schools in Nairobi have introduced a mental arithmetic system called UCMAS designed to boost brain power and stimulate young minds.

Parents have however expressed concern over the system’s extra charges for learners who register to undertake it in schools.

The charges range from Sh3,500 to Sh4,500 for city schools that have started urging learners between the age of 4 and 13 to undertake it.

UCMAS, which stands for Universal Concepts of Mental Arithmetic Systems, has been use in different schools across the globe and is slowly getting to Kenyan schools both private and public.

The pupils move their fingers, as if they are using an imaginary abacus counting frame, as the task is being read out to them and immediately the lengthy sum has been fully read out to them they are usually ready with an answer.


A parent took to Kilimani Mums Nairobi to seek reviews on the system before committing the amount required.

One mum commented, “They tried to introduce it in my daughter’s but it didn’t bite coz of the extra cost. It’s actually supposed to help improve the children’s ability to work out big numbers in math in seconds by working the sum in their head as opposed to on paper. This is supposed to activate their mental ability to work out problems so they improve in other subjects as well.”

Another stated, “Had it at my son’s school. He loved it, I did it. Then just abruptly it was pulled off ati because some parents claimed it had something to do with devil worship!”

A source in the ministry of education stated that the program was not authorized by the government but efforts to get an authorized official to comment of the matter failed.

Emails to UCMAS Kenya, the organization running the program had not been responded to by the time of publishing but a copyright certificate was available in the firm’s website.