St. Peter’s Senior High School in the Eastern Region, has won the National Science and Maths Quiz for the 3rd time since its inception in 1993. They first won the competition in the year 2000 and in 2005.
The NSMQ stage has over the years offered schools the opportunity to earn the bragging rights as the best in Science and Mathematics. These 2 subjects are considered difficult by most Ghanaian students especially girls who shy away from it. Many have blamed the lack of enthusiasm for these subjects on the absence of practical correlation to real life situations. One of such people is Dr. Heather Beam, founder of Practical Education Network.
Dr. Beam believes that giving students the chance to think outside the box instead of using the method of chew & pour in learning science and better communication of science as well as exposing teachers to how they can practically teach what’s in the curriculum can help impact science education in Ghana. During a discussion on the Horizon, a science themed radio program on Starr FM, she stated that the big difference between science education in Ghana and the western world is the availability of a platform to explore and experiment vs Ghana’s chew & pour method. She further emphasized on how NSMQ can be used to make science more engaging. However questions asked at the competition are obscure and it’s hard for the audience to follow or understand what’s going on. Many Ghanaians took to social media to back this assertion.
Others also commented on the fact that the quiz has been dominated by boys school since 1993.
But one fact that can’t and shouldn’t be ignored is the fact that the NSMQ does not provide a level playing field for the contestants. Schools that are less resourced with science labs etc are expected to compete with grade A schools such as Prempeh College, St. Augustine, Adisadel College, PRESEC among many others with better and well equipped facilities and labs.
Without a doubt, Primetime has morphed the NSMQ brand to something worthy of praise. But how does this improve how science is learnt in our classrooms? How does that change the fact that a majority of Ghanaians and observers of the competition do not comprehend the questions asked at the competition and how they apply to real life situations?
NSMQ can be the perfect platform for making science interesting and exciting. But how do we make that possible? Perhaps Primetime can go back to the drawing board and consider all these. Science is the future and Ghana needs science in every aspect of our development so let’s make science fun for our young ones.
Check out this comprehensive and fact filled short video of the National Science and Math Quiz