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The popularity of the abacus, now rarely used in the world of calculators, has recently been on the rise as many parents concerned about their children’s math ability have started sending them to abacus schools to develop their skills.

The number of applicants for the national abacus certification exam, which peaked at 2.04 million in 1980, slumped to a low of 180,000 in 2005. But since then, applications have been on the rise and hit 200,000 in 2008.

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