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High school science and maths quiz sends Ghana into a frenzy

High school science and maths quiz sends Ghana into a frenzy


Topping social media trends, creating fierce rivalry and millions awaiting each round’s results; this is not a Black Stars game or a lottery, but this year’s senior high school National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ).

The over two decades old quiz programme which is also the longest-running independent production on Ghana television since its inception in 1993 had 135 high schools all over the country in participation for over two weeks.

Adisadel College, one of the oldest senior high schools built before Ghana’s independence, won the 2016 edition on Wednesday, June 30, 2016, by 44 points followed by Opoku Ware School in the second position with 38 points and Ghana’s oldest senior high school, Mfantsipim School coming third with 37 points.

They went through four rounds: Question and Answers, Problem of the Day (Speed Race), True or False and Riddles sessions.

The 135 schools qualified from regional championships and then at the national level, went through preliminary stages and then those who qualify move to the quarter finals, semi-finals and then the finals keenly contested by the three outstanding schools.

As the competition was on-going at the University of Ghana, where the participants were also lodging, old students, parents and current students of these schools were in attendance, others glued to their radios and social media in support of their children and alma mater.

According to UNESCO, 76.6% of Ghana’s over 26 million population is literate and about half of them have attended one of the over 500 public senior high schools.

This statistic gives the NSMQ a huge following by default as proud old students are itching to gain bragging rights. The number is expected to double when it starts airing on Ghana Television (GTV) in August on Saturdays at 11am, a time slot it has maintained since 1994 when it got televised.

The NSMQ was instituted to promote the study of the sciences and mathematics, help students develop quick thinking and a probing and scientific mind about the things around them, while fostering healthy academic rivalry among senior high schools, the website of the programme said.

First-time winners Adisadel College from the Central Region of Ghana were awarded among others, a trophy and cash prizes of GHS 40,000 ($10,100) for their school, GHS 15,000 ($3,800) for the contestants and GHS 15,000 ($3,800) for the team of teachers who trained them.

Cash prizes and other gifts were also awarded the runners-up and semi-finalists.

Also, Salma Sumaila of Ghana National College in the Central Region won the Most Outstanding Female Contestant Award.

The organisers of the quiz competition, Primetime, are bent on expanding the competition to the West African region after organising it once in 2007 featuring three teams each from Ghana and Nigeria. They failed to continue it due to inadequate sponsorship.

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