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National Science and Maths Quiz here to stay

NSMQ MADAM Dr. Elsie Kaufman, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 Source: Simon Aikins

The dust has finally settled after a keenly contested competition that got the whole nation wax lyrical about some of the toughest contests, especially the grand finale that saw Prempeh College beat St.Thomas Aquinas Senior High School narrowly and painfully to the trophy.

Since the inception of the National Science and Maths Quiz in 1994, I dare say that this year's edition has really received rave reviews and the best of support as compared to the previous editions. I may be wrong though.

Many factors have contributed to the sudden affection for the competition that had low patronage in the past. Whoever is responsible for this great rebranded National Science and Maths Quiz needs to commended for being innovative which has in turn revived the fortunes of the competition.

Social Media offered the platform to create all the buzz about the competition. It afforded those who could not be at the venue to witness events in person to have the opportunity to equally view it via live streaming on Facebook.

This idea was a master stroke that gingered followers to monitor events with bated breath. In the past, before it was shown on national television, it had already lost steam which doused the enthusiasm around the competition. This time around, we were served hot from the auditorium which added to the excitement.

Old students of competing schools always made sure the competition was not in short supply of excitement. They made sure defeated schools were taunted or trolled which in itself is a form of motivation to the contestants not to let their schools down. Many old students could not concentrate on work when their former schools were competing. The bragging right was at stake.

Most of them had eggs in their faces after some of the contests for running their mouths before the contest. This heightened patronage in this year's competition.

Quality of contestants played a key role in the success of this year's contest. The likes of Christopher Anamalia of St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School, Sena of Presec, Legon and Wonder of Prempeh College wowed the audience with their precociousness. They answered questions with confidence without breaking a sweat. These boys could within a matter of seconds secure their schools from the claws of defeat. They are destined for success. I pray they achieve their heart desires.

Schools tagged as underdogs made the competition pleasing to the eyes. They disposed off schools with higher pedigrees with ease. The likes of Ketasco, Nifa and Mawuli Senior High School made sure that schools that underrated them were pummeled into submission.

Many have attributed the performances some of the underrated schools put up to the computer placement of students. It is believed that most of the schools have benefited from the equal distribution of clever students who are currently holding the flags of their schools aloft.

This clearly manifested in most of the contests. Some of the contestants were fearless even when they met schools that were deemed higher than them. They proved their mettle against such schools and in some instances came up tops and won the admiration of all.

The National Science and Maths Quiz in a way will help most of the schools. It has brought most schools who were not known to the fore and offered the opportunity to old students who were shy to profess their love for their schools to be proud of their schools.

But for the competition, most old students would have forgotten their schools. Old students have now been exposed to the weak academic conditions prevailing in their schools. Many have promised to give back to their schools by investing in their quiz teams and other areas the schools are struggling to overcome. This I think will bring a positive change to such schools.

Also, the competition will promote the study of Mathematics and Science since Science and Mathematics cannot be detached from the current happenings of the world, especially it will motivate those struggling with the study of the two subjects to put in all their efforts and they will succeed.

I suggest that, the organizers will work on making the audience have a feel of how experiments are conducted in the laboratory by mounting a mock laboratory for contestants to perform experiments. It looks like the competition is geared towards those who are quick to think within a twinkle of an eye to produce answers. Everything they do is abstract. It makes it difficult for the audience to learn from the contestants.

The National Science and Maths Quiz like any other competition had it own shortfalls. The attendance this time around was huge which overwhelmed organizers. Security personnels were overstretched which led to squabbles between the security and supporters.

I suggest they get a bigger auditorium since the competition will be bigger next year. It is very sad to go to the venue to support your school only to be denied entry because the auditorium has exhausted the number of seats. It is not good for branding.

Congratulations to Primetime for the solid work they did. They brought the competition to our doorsteps. Much will be expected next year as a result of the good work they did this year.

To Prempeh, the honeymoon is over. They should start preparing now because they are now the target of all schools. All schools are going to mount a stiffer challenge come next year. So they must come well prepared for tougher battles. National Science and Maths Quiz is really here to stay.

Columnist: Simon Aikins