Education Spotlight

UCMAS Saudi Arabia; Developing Strong Minds Through Math

Innovative approach in developing mental math skills in children has benefits that extend well into adulthood

© 2016 Javi Zamo / Raul M.

In the Arab world, math has long played a central role in the academic and artistic culture of it history. In the 9th and 10th centuries, Islamic scholars built upon Greek and Indian mathematics and made important contributions to the field. The study of algebra (a word that is itself derived from Arabic) in particular advanced greatly during this time, but major contributions to trigonometry, geometry, and mathematical astronomy from the same time and place cannot be ignored. It was the Arabs, as well, who spread their knowledge of math to Europe during the Middle Ages, in part bearing responsibility for the spurring on of the golden age of science and art, the Renaissance.

Today, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia carries on this tradition in the pursuit of engineering, architecture, and science in its professional and economic life. Yet, to the dismay of many, math and science seems to not get its fair due in primary and secondary schools in the country, where literature and Islamic studies dominate course loads. Additionally, many of the brightest Saudi students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are being sent abroad to universities in the United States, the UK, Canada, and Spain to complete their studies.

Where public education may be falling short in its teaching of math in the KSA, one organization is working to change that with a revolutionary program that promises to instill math skills and lightning fast reasoning abilities at an early age: UCMAS Saudi Arabia.

UCMAS is a program that is used all around the world to teach children how to use mental math to perform complex calculations, without any external aids, in seconds. The process works through first teaching children how to use an Abacus, the world’s original calculator, and then, through mastery, replacing it with a mental version, resulting in lightning fast tabulation of complicated addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems.

© 2016 Javi Zamo / Raul M.

The Abacus has been used, largely unchanged, for over 800 years as visual math calculator, and is still a powerful tool. The abacus uses beads on either a power-10 or hexadecimal counting system to quickly and visually tabulate math problems. By instilling the techniques for using this powerful device, and then by promoting mastery, and eventually, being able to use it mentally without an abacus present, children are given a lifelong ability that will give them a mathematical advantage over their peers.

Since 1993, UCMAS mental math schools have been helping Saudi children strengthen their math skills, promote healthy brain development, and stimulate creative problem solving, multitasking, and time management skills. Over 1 million children around the world have used and mastered the system, and word of the benefits of the program is spreading quickly.

In Saudi Arabia, there are 12 UCMAS learning centers spread throughout Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Khobar, Jeddah, and other cities. Its adoption in the country is growing, spelling a bright tomorrow for the future mathematicians, engineers, scientists, accountants, and businessmen of the country.

UCMAS Saudi Arabia manages its quality closely by administering its courses with the best teachers, equipment, and atmospheres, all conducive to learning in a fun, yes stimulating environment. Visual aids, activities, and collaboration build a spirit of learning and lighthearted competition between the students, making solve math problems that make many adults sweat easy and fun.

For its contributions to education, its quality of instruction, and its innovative program, UCMAS Saudi Arabia is being presented with the 2016 BID Quality Award, one of the world’s most prestigious recognitions of organizational quality and excellence.


BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.