The Ghana Education Service (GES) has expressed its commitment to ensure that the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) comes off as scheduled.
“Let me start by assuring everyone, particularly the schools and their students, that the science and maths quiz will definitely take place,” the Director-General of the GES, Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, has declared.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, he acknowledged the delay in the release of funds meant for the programme, but added: “We are working to raise the money early enough for them.”
He stressed the government’s commitment to support science and mathematics education in schools.
Already, the qualifying series for the contest have taken off in earnest in the Western and the Western North regions, in spite of the decision by the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) to stay away from the competition due to inadequate funds.
In the Western North Region, the qualification contest on Monday, February 10, 2020 had the Bia Senior High and Technical School (SHTS) come tops with 25 points, followed by the Sefwi Wiawso SHS with 20 points; Nana Brentu SHS, 18 points; Juaboso SHS, nine points, while the Sefwi Bekwai and the Bodi SHSs secured five and three points, respectively.
In the other contest, Bibiani SHTS emerged first with 21 points, with the Nsawora SHS, 18 points; the Sefwi Wiawso SHTS, eight points, the Asawinso SHS, 15 points, and the Dadieso SHS, 11 points, following in that order.
In the first Western Regional contest, the Archbishop Porter Girls’ SHS came first with 46 points, with the Sekondi College placing second with 18 points, followed by the Shama SHS, 10 points; the Daboase SHTS, nine points, and the Gwiraman SHS, seven points.
The second contest saw the Tarkwa SHS emerging winners after amassing 35 points, followed by the Nkroful Agricultural SHS, 21 points; the Annor Adjaye SHS, 21 points, with the Asankragwa SHS and the Huni Valley SHS securing 13 points apiece.
There were contests last Tuesday, giving indications that the quiz would proceed without any hitch.
Request to schools
The Managing Director of Primetime Limited, organisers of the NSMQ, Nana Akua Ankomah-Asare, confirmed that the quiz would go ahead as expected.
“Yes, we are going ahead with the programme, according to the directive by the GES to interested schools to participate. Some schools have shown interest and we are going ahead with that,” she told the Daily Graphic yesterday.
She confirmed that the Western and the Western North regions had had their contests and that the next region would be Upper East.
There was a scare last Thursday when CHASS, in a letter, said it would be difficult for schools to organise their students for this year’s NSMQ at the regional and the national levels as a result of inadequate funds.
“We, therefore, wish to inform management that until adequate funds are made available, schools will not be in a position to participate in the NSMQ in any form,” a letter signed by the President of CHASS, Alhaji Yakub A.B. Abubakar, and addressed to the Director-General of the GES said.
Commitment of government
However, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said, “the government is committed to supporting this programme, which has been running over the past 25 years or more”.
He said the GES was aware that the schools had already gone through balloting “and we encourage them to take their preparations seriously and participate in the quiz”.
He also encouraged schools which had not been participating in the quiz to try and do so, since it was a way of encouraging the learning of the sciences in schools.
“All of us, as a country, enjoy the keen nature of the competition and we think that it is a way of promoting science and mathematics education in Ghana,” he stated.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa invited corporate bodies to fully support the GES and the government to sustain the contest, which he said was enjoyed by all.
“We also know that in many of the schools, old students are supporting to ensure that their schools participate effectively in the competition,” he said.
The quiz is Ghana’s biggest academic competition that is aired on radio, television and various social media platforms.
It has a huge following involving the old and the young.
Besides academic considerations, the competition offers winning schools ‘bragging rights’ over other competitors, at least for the period they reign as champions.
Since the competition commenced in 1993, no girls’ school has ever won it. Champions have come from co-educational and boys’ schools.
It is produced by Primetime Limited and sponsored by the GES, in collaboration with CHASS, among other organisations.