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High Schools in Ghana have found delight battling amongst one another in various competitions. We can name the annual Inter Schools Athletics, popularly known as Inter-Co, where senior high schoolers test their speed, power and endurance against one another. We can also talk about the annual Sprite Ball Competition, where high schoolers face off in basketball to exhibit their skills, strength, spatial awareness and agility. However, none of these competitions come close to the adrenaline, the anxiety, the heartbreak, the pride, the embarrassment, the surprise, the relief and the rivalry the National Science and Maths Quiz (simply known as the NSMQ) offers. The NSMQ goes beyond rivalry between continuing students. Old students of various high schools, middle schoolers who dream of attending one of these renowned schools and even those whose schools have never competed in the nationals, all tune in to watch these intellectual battles.

Without a doubt, the competition’s massive viewership is mainly due to its nationwide broadcast which has been produced by Primetime Limited since 1993 and it is one of the longest televised production and competition in the country. The presence of social media has further boosted its viewership and likeability with some situations being used as memes. We can refer to Christian Amoako Mensah Yeboah of Mfantsipim School’s bold, calm, and daring answer of “You! Are! The Star!” during a riddle in this year’s semi-finals which was rather incorrect.

The NSMQ has produced eleven (11) winners in the span of 3 decades with Kumasi’s favorite son, Prempeh College winning the maiden edition and going on to win further four (4) with their last victory coming in 2017. Unfortunately, their total of five (5) wins is eclipsed by Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School’s (popularly known as PRESEC Legon) national record of seven (7) wins. The Presbyterian Boys won the 2022 edition with Prempeh College and Adisadel College coming in 1st and 2nd runners-up, respectively. 

Other notable schools to have won the tournament include; St. Peters’ Senior High School (3x time champions), Opoku Ware School, Achimota School, Mfantsipim School and St. Augustine’s College all 2x time champions while Adisadel College, Ghana Secondary Technical School (GSTS), St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School and Pope John Senior High School and Minor Seminary have all won the trophy once. In contrast, no all-girls school has ever won the competition since its inauguration, although the likes of Wesley Girls’ High School and Mfantsiman Girls’ High School reached the finals in the 1999 and 2013 editions respectively.

Quiz mistress: Prof. Elsie A. B. Effah Kaufmann

The competition which is hosted by the prominent quiz mistress Prof. Elsie A. B. Effah Kaufmann is contested in five rounds. Round 1 consists of Fundamental Questions where contestants take turns to answer questions in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. Then comes round 2, which is the Speed Race. A question is read to all three schools where the school to ring the bell the quickest, gets to answer the question. Of course, if the answer is incorrect, the opportunity is given to the other two (2) schools as a bonus to provide the right answer. The 3rd round which is worth ten (10) points takes a different course. Contestants are given a single question and are required to solve the Problem of the Day within four (4) minutes. The round four (4) is the True or False phase. This round is probably the trickiest and possibly the most difficult. The quiz mistress reads statements to contestants in turns to determine whether the read statement is true or false. A correct answer attracts two (2) points, whereas a wrong answer draws a penalty of minus one (-1) point. However, a contestant may decide against answering, of which the question will be granted to the next contestant as a bonus with the two (2) points as reward if the answer is right. Finally comes the fifth round; the Riddles. A total of four (4) riddles are read to the contestants. The quiz mistress provides clues to the riddles. A 1st attempt on the 1st clue attracts maximum five (5) points, attempts on the 2nd clue gives four (4) points while three (3) points are awarded on the 3rd and subsequent clues.

The National Science and Maths Quiz has been hosted by three (3) renowned women since its inauguration with Prof. Elsie A. B. Effah Kaufmann taking over as quiz mistress from Dr. Eureka Emefa Adomako since 2006 to present.  Dr. Eureka Emefa Adomako was the quiz mistress from 2001 to 2005, succeeding the late Prof. Marian Ewurama Addy who was the competition’s first host from 1993 to 2000.

The 2023 quiz year of the NSMQ has reached its finale. Achimota School, Opoku Ware School and PRESEC Legon will battle for the bragging rights on Monday, October 30, 2023. Will Achimota School, the only co-educational school to have won the title twice, whose last victory came in 2004 claim their 3rd trophy? Will Opoku Ware School, another 2x time victors who has an unwanted record of two (2) wins from seven (7) finals break their jinx by adding another winners’ medal since their last victory in 2002? Or will the Presbyterian Boys continue to reign supreme by extending their record to eight (8) trophies and also etch their name in history to become the first Senior High School to defend its title successfully on two occasions? Whichever, the battle for high school intellectual bragging rights continues.

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  1. 1
    Dey Clifford

    It’s the best competition and one of the best televised production and competition in the country, which brightens the youth up from high school’s so are grateful .

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