The National Science and Mathematics Quiz 2017: The Best So Far

The National Science and Mathematics Quiz (NSMQ) started in 1993 and several schools have emerged winners of this great competition. Pojoss, Adisadel College, Presec, St. Thomas Aquinas SHS, Prempeh College, St. Augustine’s College, GSTS, Mfantsipim School, Achimota School and Opoku Ware School have all won the competition before, with Presec winning the coveted prize five times, followed closely by Prempeh College with four wins. Achimota School is the only mixed school to have won the competition. Strangely enough, no girl school have won the competition before. The euphoria that heralded the beginning of this noble competition died down after some years.

This year’s edition was the 22nd since Primetime started the production in 1993. The competition started with 135 schools, out of this number, 108 qualified through the Regional Competitions held across the country in January-February 2017. The other 27 were seeded schools that made it to the quarter final stage of the 2016 edition of the competition. The National Science and Mathematics Quiz is also the longest running independent production on television in Ghana. The objectives of the competition has been to promote the study of the sciences and mathematics, help students develop quick thinking and a probing and scientific mindset about the things around them, whiles encouraging and fostering a healthy academic rivalry among the senior high schools. Thus it has become very common to see most of the senior high schools trying to assert their bragging rights during the competition, especially the schools that have won the competition before.

The first NSMQ quiz mistress was the late Professor Marian Ewurama Addy, professor of Biochemistry at the University of Ghana. She was quiz-mistress from 1993-2000. Dr. Eureka Emefa Adomako, a botanist at the University of Ghana also took over as quiz-mistress from 2001-2005. The current quiz-mistress is Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann, (2006-) head of the Biomedical Engineering Department, University of Ghana, Legon. The 2017 edition of the NSMQ has so far been the best in terms of popularity and euphoria. This was because, most of the schools had their students and old students supporting their contestants and the venue for the competition was always packed with spillovers outside the main auditorium. This was characterized by several high profile personalities who came to support their former schools. They also came there to provide both moral support and material support. Some donated money and other items just to motivate the contestants to do their best. As it happened during last year’s edition, the Ghana Think Foundation through it’s Junior Camp Ghana team partnered the organizers of the NSMQ by introducing a mentoring session during each of the preliminary rounds of the competition. This helped the students a lot as they got the opportunity to meet and learn about the experiences of the mentors. These mentors were drawn from several  Science and Technology fields such as Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy, Computer Science, Nursing, Science Education etc etc. The mentoring sessions offered the students the opportunity to ask  pertinent questions about their various chosen career options in the sciences, academia and beyond. Thus, the partnership between Primetime and the GhanaThink Foundation will surely be a long term one and this will impact the lives of many students at the Senior High School level.

This year’s Grand Finale was between three schools, Adisadel College, Prempeh College and St. Thomas Aquinas SHS. At the end of the contest, Prempeh College emerged the winner followed closely by St. Thomas Aquinas SHS and Adisadel College (NSMQ2016 Champions) with the second and third positions respectively. Social media also made this year’s contest very interesting as there were live tweets on Twitter and livestreaming on facebook. The GhanaThink Foundation and the members of the Junior Camp Ghana team are grateful to all the followers who tweeted and retweeted with the hash tag #NSMQ2017 from both the @NSMQ, @JuniorCampGhana twitter accounts and followed their respective Facebook pages. We say “ayeekoo” to Prempeh College for winning the NSMQ2017. To all the schools that could not make it to the grand finale, we wish them better luck next time. The NSMQ has surely come to stay and lets all come on board and join hands and give it the massive support and coverage it deserves.

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Fire Safety.

ImageThe recent fire outbreaks all over the country has prompted me to write this article. The year 2013 was welcome all over the world with open arms and good tidings, but we in Ghana for the past one week have been met with over two hundred fire outbreaks all over the country. These fires have caused a lot of destruction to properties worth thousands of Ghana Cedis. It seems those days when the teaching of fire safety in our basic schools and senior high schools should be revisited. This was done with the much needed attention that was deserved. Most of these fires happened at industrial complexes where the safety officials went against the laid down regulations. Combustible materials were kept in conditions that could easily spark fires. Indiscriminate burning of bushes has also been on the increase with some farmers loosing their farm produce as a result of the carelessness of some of their colleagues, who do not construct fire belts before burning their farms to clear the weeds. As we are still in the Harmattan season, we must ensure that farmers do the right thing when burning weeds on their farms. This is the time that the Ghana National Fire and Rescue Service should intensify their education on fire safety in the schools and at the various industrial complexes all over the country. Fire can destroy both lives and properties, that is why we need to intensify the awareness and education on fire safety. The Ghana Fire and Rescue Service must be adequately resourced by the Government, all fire hydrants must be checked for their readiness, and the general public must also be made aware of the consequences of the deliberate setting of fires. One worrying fact is when some companies refuse to disclose vital information concerning materials used in the production of certain products to the Fire Service when there is a fire outbreak on their premises. This leaves the personnel helpless as to the right type of liquid or powder to fight such fires. Lets all come together and ensure that we use fire for its intended purpose, and not use it in such a way that would lead to destruction of lives and properties. God save Ghana.