The National Science and Maths Quiz is an annual science and mathematics content-based national level quiz competition for senior high schools in Ghana.
It has been produced by Primetime Limited, an education-interest advertising, and public relations agency, since 1993.
The competition has in the last decade generated a lot of social buzz. This has catapulted the competition into the arena of national media discussions and trolls of losing schools. It has led to many intellectual intercourses on these streets.
In the last few years, the competition has received great patronage by traditional and print media. Many sponsors have come on board to leverage on this giant buzz around the competition.
In fact, the competition has made science and maths attractive and appealing to the average watcher.
The competition has in recent years awarded scholarship to many deserving participants to realize their dreams in varied fields in the sciences.
The National Science and Maths Quiz has been a key force in the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
In 2018, St. Peters won the competition and as part of wining the competition, they were flown to Portugal to partake in a global competition.
What triggered me to write this piece was statements made by the respected Biomedical Engineering Lecturer at the University of Ghana and Quiz mistress Dr. Elsie Kaufmann.
She said: “Just recently, the winners of the 2018 National Science and Maths Quiz went to see the President and I was there. One of them spoke eloquently.
“They had been in a competition in Portugal, but they couldn’t do the competition. They didn’t understand it because they couldn’t even understand and recognize how the equipment they were given worked.
“The young man said they can tell you everything about the theories, they can describe and explain everything but they cannot apply anything.”
Dr Kaufmann went on “we have too many of our inputs (students from the high schools) and they come and including the very ones that sit with me on stage.
“They are the best and the brightest, and yet something is wrong with their education because they’re not able to translate all those theories, wonderful ideas and foundation into useful outcomes,” he added.
This was in 2018, two years down the line, what has changed? Is it still a competition of theoretical ideas only? What is the use of winning a science competition when the winning team cannot identify basic experiment equipment like a round bottom flask, pipette etc?
For me, the NSMQ team has done tremendously well but, I think it is time about we expose these brilliant students to the world of practice and innovation, in addition to the theory.
It’s time the government and private sector come on board to make this happen. When that is done, our winners will always a make fist when taken out there.
This reinforces the need for a massive reequipping of the laboratories and science resource centres in our various Senior High School.
Ghana needs a change in the approach in the education of the youth at the various levels in order to translate potential ideas into useful products which can solve the country’s problems.
Long Live the NSMQ
Long Live Ghana.