The history of the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) is one of vilification, rapprochement and breakthrough. It was seen as a failed concept because the important role of science education towards Ghana’s development was disregarded.
Science education was fictionalized.
But after 23 years of existence, the competition has succeeded in curving out a niche for itself to the point of commanding audience in the region of one million.
Brakopowers.com has researched into the history of NSMQ and has identified some five secrets you didn’t know about the competition.
It is the considered opinion of the writer that if you got to know them, your attitude towards the event and science education will forever be altered.
#1: NSMQ was instituted to promote science and maths education
I doubt if many Ghanaians are aware the NSMQ was designed to promote science and maths education in a country that has no respect for the two subjects. Before it was started in 1994, the ratio of science education to humanities was 23:150 in Ghana’s secondary schools. Many of the students who started off at the junior high level with the intention to read science ended up reading General Arts, Visual Arts and Business. Some 23 years later, there has not been gigantic stride as far as the vision of NSMQ is concerned.
#2: NSMQ is about bragging right, not trophy
It appears the NSMQ is losing its focus. The event has never been about the trophy the winning school is presented with to stand for its stunning victory. From 1994 to date, the event has been about which school is given the license to troll other less fortunate schools. The NSMQ is about which school is given the right to brag and taunt other schools. The battle for superiority among the over 500 public schools has been stoked by the competition that it begs asking if it will serve the purpose for which the programme was instituted.
#3: NSMQ is encouraging rote learning
The condemned mode of learning in our secondary and tertiary schools which does not serve the interest of the country is the very one the NSMQ encourages. The event has failed to create an understanding of the topics delved into for not only the contestants, but other students who are watching it to be able to apply it in their classrooms.
#4: NSMQ was rejected by some media houses
Some media houses in the country threw out the NSMQ concept because to them, it couldn’t be sold to the citizens. They didn’t see the relevance of the competition when it started in 1994 and even 10 editions after. While some believe it was ego that pushed the media houses to do that, I think their decision was informed by what was in the concept for them. Nothing was offered to them and they also rejected. But you will be surprise they are looking an opportunity to partner with the organisers of the competition. This reminds me of the parable of the reject stone in the New Testament.
#5: NSMQ has more audience currently than any television programme
The success of the NSMQ is the last of its five secrets. From an audience of 150 to over one million Ghanaians, it could best be described as spectacular. Did you know the NSMQ has more audience than any nation programme, not to talk about programmes of media houses? I am confident the NSMQ will grow with its audience in the same way the National High School Essay Contest in America become.
Though it is not where it envisaged, there’s no denying the competition has succeeded in piquing the conscience of Ghanaians to rethink the contribution of science towards our development.
If there’s anything we need to change as a people, it is about our commitment towards science education. Government after the other has placed a lot of emphasis on the humanities, while science education suffers. And when it dawned on our leaders that our children need to be encouraged to read science if we are to leapfrog into the so-called first or second world, efforts have been less than stellar.
We need to change this attitude.
We need to acknowledge that much as we need citizens trained in the humanities, we need more of them in the sciences.
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Disclaimer: The writer Austin Brakopowers works as a journalist at Joy99.7FM and could be reached via Brakomen@outlook.com or www.brakopowers.com. Views expressed here are the Author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of management of Multimedia or Myjoyonline.com
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