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Programming Olympiad goes digital

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No more marking! That is the first thought teachers have when they hear that the Programming Olympiad will be online this year.

The 32nd annual Standard Bank/IITPSA Programming Olympiad will be the first one to be offered online. Schools will be able to log in on Friday 14 August and take part right through the day.

For schools wishing to use it as an internal competition, the Olympiad will be available from 14 to 21 August.

“It is not that easy to offer the Programming Olympiad online,” says Olympiad manager Peter Waker. “Learners use a range of computer languages including C++, Delphi, Java, Pascal, Python and Scratch. Participants will therefore see the questions online and provide the answers online. The programs that produce the answers will still be written on the learner’s own computer or network.”

Teachers will appreciate the lack of marking and the fact that there is no paperwork to send in results. Schools will still need to register though so that a username and password for each participating learner can be sent to the school. Registration can be done online at www.olympiad.org.za or by phone at (021) 448 7864.

As before certificates are issued for learners who come first, second and third in their school and also for those who are first in their grades.

The Olympiad expects around 3 000 entries from 200 schools. Of those who take part on 14 August, the top 10 to 15 will be invited to the Finals in Cape Town 10 to 12 October. From these finalists a team will be selected to represent South Africa at the International Olympiad in Informatics in Russia in 2016.

“The 2016 team will have a tough task,” Waker says. “The 2015 team members all returned with medals from the International Olympiad in Informatics. South Africa came 32nd out of 83 participating countries and was the highest ranking country from Africa.”