If you were scanning both the traditional and social media landscape carefully this month, you might have noticed that the Absa Bank National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) competition is enjoying great coverage due to the ongoing regional championships happening all over the country.

Since it first gained prominence on television close to four decades ago, the NSMQ has undoubtedly elevated the power of the Ghanaian student to navigate complex and knotty scientific problems and created a lot of leaders in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Aside from football, the competition belongs to a rare list of events in Ghana with the capacity to corral the entire country together in uncanny and interesting ways.

Secondary school banter is always desirable and cathartic for the majority of Ghanaians who passed through the system. Comparing schools in terms of academic prowess, products and pedigree are always exciting and competitive. The Science and Maths Quiz platform took these engagements to a different level of competition and, to some extent, strengthened alumni associations of most secondary schools.

Corporate Ghana also saw an opportunity to gain brand recognition and visibility and came on board by way of sponsorships.

However, three years ago, Absa Bank Ghana entered the fray as the headline sponsor of the competition and transformed everything. Apart from gaining brand leverage and positioning from its association with the competition at the national level, it introduced a lot of dynamic activities to embed the platform in the Ghanaian consciousness.

For example, Absa Bank viewed the partnership as a way of empowering and encouraging the general acceptance and practice of STEM education across the country. It was also a way of highlighting the bank’s role in society, beyond its core business of banking.

Absa Bank also introduced several dimensions to the national competition like the Absa Money Zone which rewards competing schools throughout the quarter-final, semi-final and grand-final stages with various cash prizes. Then came the STEM festival, which was designed to give students the opportunity to apply the theories in STEM to solve societal challenges.

This was achieved through the Sci-Tech Fair & Innovation Challenge, encouraging the youth to explore and showcase their innovative ideas. The Mentorship sessions of the festival, on the other hand, exposed the youth to various career paths in STEM education in line with Goal 4 of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).

The NSMQ has also evolved with the inclusion of the regional championships that seek to extend coverage and participation to many schools within the various regions. These schools get to compete against the best in their respective regions, including the highest ranked schools with automatic entry into the national event due to their previous year’s performance.

This year’s regional championships will end with the Greater Accra finale on Saturday May 28th, 2022. What is adding a new dimension to these events is the seeming clamour and eagerness by the students to open bank accounts with Absa Bank.

Most are excited by the investment and financial education delivered by the bank during the sessions and are excited about the chance to secure their own bank accounts ahead of their transition from secondary to Tertiary.

“A bank account now is essential as I am in my final year and will soon need to take care of myself and make financial planning decisions. Absa Bank has been kind enough to introduce us to the basics of effective savings and investment and this has changed my outlook,” said one final year student during the Volta regional championship finale.

As Lawson Tornyi, Head of Deposits, Personal and SME Banking at Absa Bank says, “These are our future leaders and customers for that matter. Aside from showcasing their competence in the competition and the positive reputation it brings, it is essential that we elevate their understanding of how to handle money and generate returns. I believe it will set them up for a very positive future.”

So, amidst the euphoria and excitement of the regional competitions and the countdown to the national championships in the fourth quarter of this year, Absa Bank is also building a future generation of finance and investment conscious youth, who are ready to transform their generation and ensure sustainable growth for the country.