About the Computer Olympiad
Currently the South African Computer Olympiad is still one of the biggest events of its kind in the world. It is the only programming competition and the only application competition for school-age learners offered nationally. STANDARD BANK is the main sponsor of the Talent Search and the Programming Olympiad. The Olympiad receives further support from the UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN.
The South African Computer Olympiad is one of the oldest in the world. It started in 1984 when a group of teachers approached Old Mutual for sponsorship. It became a project of the Institute of IT Professionals South Africa – funded by Old Mutual for the next 20 years.
For the first two years, participation was less than 100 but when a two-round format was introduced in 1986, participation went over 1,000 immediately. By 1990 the Olympiad had 2,000 participants per year and was the biggest event of its kind in the world. By 2003 participation had grown to over 3,000 but very few from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.
To cater for a wider audience, a new round, an aptitude test, was introduced and participation again increased; to more than 11,000 in 2003, 13,000 in 2004 and 15,000 in 2005. (See Statistics for a full list.)
Concerned that many learners waited to grade 11 or 12 before taking part in the Computer Olympiad, when it would be too late to make the right subject choices, an aptitude test was introduced in 2006. Number of entries shot up immediately. This round is now known as the Talent Search and attracts over 20 000 participants from schools nationwide.
To cater for the increasing number of learners who take Computer Applications Technology or Computer Literacy at schools, an additional competition was introduced in 2010. This is known as the Computer Applications Olympiad to distinguish this Olympiad from the Computer Programming Olympiad.
The INSTITUTE of IT PROFESSIONALS SOUTH AFRICA are the sponsors of the Applications Olympiad.
The Computer Olympiad is a project of the Institute of IT Professionals South Africa (IITPSA). Its aim is to identify, encourage, and reward programming aptitude. To this end a trust, the South African Computer Olympiad Trust has been established. Trustees are appointed by IITPSA and the University of Cape Town. Seven members make up the Management Committee
Mike Chiles (Trustee) has been involved with ICT in Education for most of his adult life. He retired from the Western Cape Education Department as Director: e-Learning and Library Services. He is currently on the board of e-Schools' Networkat Wikipedia
Donald Cook (Trustee) is a former lecturer in the Computer Science Department at the University of Cape Town. He has also been involved in the Computer Olympiad since the beginning and managed the Scientific Committee from 1995 to 2007.at Wikipedia
Nicole Borges is the CIO for Investment Banking at Standard Bank, the main sponsor of the Computer Olympiad. She is responsible for partnering with the business to define and execute the technology strategy, with a key focus on driving digitisation. Her passion is nurturing young South African talent and growing strong female leadership in STEM disciplines.at Wikipedia
James Gain (Trustee) is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Cape Town. He currently manages the Scientific Committee which sets the questions and tests the solutions. This committee is mainly made up of past Olympiad participants.at Wikipedia
Moira de Roche (Trustee) is a Director and Past President of the Institute of IT Professionals and currently serves as Honorary Treasurer of the IITPSA. Moira made education a priority during her presidency.at Wikipedia
Peter Waker (Trustee) has spent all his adult life in education – the last 35 years in IT and education. He is a founding member of the Computer Olympiad and a trustee of the Olympiad Trust.at Wikipedia
Michael Cameron is the Manager of the Computer Olympiad. He believes that the Trust is uniquely positioned to enhance computational thinking in South Africa. His appointment in 2016 follows a career as a teacher and Chief Education Specialist in the Western Cape Education Department.at Wikipedia
PARTICIPATION SINCE 1984