It will be an-all-boys schools final again at this year’s grand finale of the National Science and Maths Quiz (NMSQ) at the Cedi Conference Centre, University of Ghana, Legon on Thursday, October 8, 2020.
This means that the girls’ schools would have to wait another year to put their house in order to exorcise the ghost that prevented them from winning the ultimate.
The schools which were given a good run for their money are the Opoku Ware Senior High School (OWASS), Adisadel College and the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (Presec), Legon.
Although successful, the three schools, all former champions, had to overcome early scares to dig deep into their reserves and rely on their resilience to overcome their opponents who were poised to bruise their egos.
It all started during the first semi-final contest yesterday morning, when giant killers, Accra Academy, which dethroned the defending champions, St Augustine’s College, locked horns with 1997 and 2002 winners, OWASS and underdogs, the Boa Amponsem SHS, which eliminated the 2012 champions, the Ghana Secondary Technical School (GSTS) and minnows, St. Margaret Mary at the quarter finals stage.
At the end of the first round of the contest, Accra Academy had taken an early lead with 23 points as against 20 for OWASS and 10 for Boa Amponsem. However, OWASS, in the second round turned the tables when it amassed 11 points in addition to its previous 20 to end the round (round two) with 31 points, leaving Accra Academy glued to its 23 points. Boa Amponsah had nine.
From there, OWASS did not take their foot off the pedal, thereby running away victorious with 55 points and Accra Academy, 38 while Boa Amponsem had to be content with 22 points.
In the second contest, the 2016 champions, Adisadel College, escaped by the skin of their teeth, when they narrowly ran away victorious with just a single point, breaking the heart of the sleeping giant, Achimota School, which was hoping to get to the final to win the ultimate after winning it in 1998 and 2004.
At the end of the contest, Adisadel College secured 21 points, Achimota, 20 and Keta Senior High Technical School (KSTS), 17 points.
Keta SHTS had led the first round with 13 points, Achimota School, 11 points Adisadel College, 10 points.
In the last semi-final clash of the day, five-time winners, the Presbyterian Boys SHS (Presec, Legon), made mincemeat of Kumasi Academy and the Aburi Secondary Technical School.
At the end of the contest, Presec, Legon had 66 points, Kumasi Academy,38 point and Aburi Sec. Tech, 18 points.
This year’s NSMQ nearly suffered a jolt when the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools said it was going to be difficult for schools to organise their students due to the lack of funds.
However, the Ghana Education Service asked regional directors of education to compile the list of schools which were willing to participate in the competition, “so that appropriate action can be taken on the request since it is only schools which will participate in the competition which will be eligible for the money earmarked for the competition”.
Again, the outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in the postponement of the quiz which should have been held between June and July this year.
However, it was shifted to September and October with the observation of all the safety protocols of COVID-19.
The NMSQ is Ghana’s biggest academic competition that is aired on radio, television and various social media platforms. It has a huge following involving the old and the young.
Besides academic considerations, the competition offers winning schools ‘bragging rights’ over other competitors, at least for the period they reign as champions.
Since the competition commenced sometime in 1993, no girls’ school has ever won it. Champions have come from co-educational and boys’ schools.