Students of Prempeh College cheering their team at one of the NSMQ competitions
Students of Prempeh College cheering their team at one of the NSMQ competitions

Petition for redress

I, Isaac Owusu Afriyie, a concerned science and chemistry teacher, write this petition to address a matter that has deeply troubled me.

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It has come to my attention that an answer which I believe should be correct was unjustly rejected during one of the semi-final contests in the just ended National Science and Math Quiz (NSMQ) Competition 2023, and I am petitioning your institution to seek a fair resolution to this issue.

The National Science & Math Quiz competition is an important event that fosters passion for Science and Mathematics among students.

 I fully support the principles of fairness and integrity that underpin this competition.

However, the incident in question raises concerns about the accuracy and impartiality of the competition.

 The details of the incident are as follows:

• Semi-final contest between Prempeh College, Pope John SHS and Opoku Ware School.

• Round Five stage

• Riddle number 1: I am a physical principle, even though there is no theoretical bases for me, I am experimentally confirmed principle.

I operate across many domains of physics including mechanics, electromagnetism and even quantum mechanics. 

According to me, the whole equal the sum of the parts.

You call on me whenever you determine the electric field or scalar potential at a point due to a collection of stationary charges, who am I?

I firmly believe that the rejected answer “Principle of superposition” provided by the contestants from Prempeh College is rooted in sound scientific principles and mathematical correctness.

I hold a firm belief that rejecting a correct answer not only distorts the competition's outcome but also undermines and diminishes the students' confidence in their knowledge and skills acquired through extensive research. 

It also negatively affects confidence in the fairness of the event and the passion for scientific learning.

Though your institution correctly responded to the petition by Prempeh College promptly and decisively, information from other reliable sources, literature, prominent scientists and academicians indicate that in the context of the preamble of the riddle above, the Principle of Superposition cannot be overlooked since the linearity was already highlighted and the superposition principle does not apply to nonlinear systems. 

As a result, in my view, the Principle of Superposition should have been accepted as a correct response.

In light of the above, I respectfully request the following:

•  A comprehensive review of the question, considering the scientific accuracy and mathematical validity of the answer that was rejected.

•  A fair and unbiased evaluation of the answer, taking into account the provided rationale for its correctness.

• Transparent communication regarding the results of this review and any actions taken to rectify the situation.

As a teacher, I know students participate in events like this to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills through the understanding of scientific and mathematics principles. 

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 Hence, it is crucial that the competition maintains the highest standards of fairness to support these goals.

I kindly request your prompt attention to this matter and hope that it will be addressed promptly, restoring the students' trust in the competition and ensuring that future editions continue to uphold the values of accuracy and fairness.

In the spirit of promoting Science and Mathematics education and encouraging students to participate actively, I urge you to reconsider making reforms to ensure that the competition's results accurately reflect the participants' knowledge and efforts.

I would want to suggest that the number of consultants be increased if possible, or a board of consultants be constituted so that an answer to a scientific or mathematics question would not be at the discretion of only one consultant or the quiz mistress, as stated in your response to Prempeh College.

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As a science teacher, my interest is for the students I teach to develop the right scientific mind-set and have a clear understanding of the right scientific concepts and understand its relevance.

I also believe that it is not in the interest of your institution to favour or punish any school in the competition.

However, these uncertainties may diminish and dampen the spirit of the students we teach which may result in unwarranted psychological implications.

I kindly request a response to this petition at your earliest convenience. I hope for a fair and just resolution to this matter.

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Isaac Owusu Afriyie,

Concerned Science and Chemistry Teacher.

 E-mail: [email protected] 

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