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2020 NSMQ: PRESEC are champs

BY: Emmanuel Bonney

The representatives of the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (Presec), Legon, on Thursday delivered the long-relished sixth National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) diadem when it won this year’s edition of the contest, ahead of two former winners, Opoku Ware School (OWASS), Kumasi, and Adisadel College (ADISCO), Cape Coast.

In a contest that pitted three boys’ schools from three different regions and belonging to three Christian denominations against one another, it was PRESEC which showed its mastery in the contest

 The 2020 champions had previously won the contest in 1995, 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2009, making it the only school to win the NSMQ back to back.

President congratulates

In a tweet, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, congratulated Presec for emerging victors in this year’s contest.

“Winning number six makes them the undisputed kings of the competition. Thoroughly well deserved, I look forward to welcoming them to Jubilee House soon,” the President said.

OWASS, a Catholic school, won it in 1997 and 2002, while ADISCO, founded by the Anglican Church, claimed their first title in 2016.

On their way to winning the contest, Presec led in all the rounds, except the third round (problem of the day), of the competition, which took place at the Cedi Conference Centre of the University of Ghana, Legon.

Rounds

All the three schools had come into the contest with a plan to win.

‘Let’s talk about six’ was Presec’s slogan; ‘We win in election years’, Adisco claimed, referring to the fact that their only win came in 2016, while OWASS had the slogan: ‘It’s time for trinity’.

In the end, though, it was Presec that made its intention clear right from the start, jumping into the lead with 14 points in the first round, as against seven by ADISCO, which came second in the contest, and 14 by OWASS.

In round two, Presec had 18 points; ADISCO, seven, and OWASS, eight.

For round three, Presec had five points; ADISCO, eight, and OWASS, six.

Presec came back strongly in round four (true or false) with 33 points; ADISCO, 28, and OWASS, 18.

The last round of the contest (riddles) saw Presec amassing 36 points; ADISCO, 31, and OWASS, 21.

With past and present students of the various schools thronging the venue for the contest to cheer on the representatives of their schools as they responded to the questions, supporters of Presec threw caution to the wind to celebrate their victory, ignoring the COVID-19 safety protocols of social distancing and the wearing of face masks.

“We told you guys that the trophy was coming back home to where it belongs,” one past student of PRESEC told his friend, an Adisco old student.

Prizes

For winning a historic sixth trophy, PRESEC took home GH¢40,000, while the contestants received GH¢20,000, with the teachers who prepared them receiving GH¢20,000, all from the Ghana Education Service (GES), which sponsored the grand prize.

For winning the first prize, Presec also took the Absa Bank Special Award for Excellence of GH¢40,000 (GH¢20,000 for teachers, GH¢20,000 for the students).

The first prize of GH¢5,000 for the Eugene Arhin Speed Award went to Presec, which also took GH¢10,000 for the Airteltigo Highest Scorer award.

ADISCO, which came second, took home GH¢30,000, while the contestants pocketed GH¢17,000, with the teachers also taking GH¢17,000 as their GES prize.

 The school also took the Absa award of GH¢30,000 (GH¢15,000 for teachers, GH¢15,000 for contestants).

ADISCO also took GH¢3,000 for the Eugene Arhin Speed Award.

For placing third, OWASS received the GES prize of GH¢20,000 for the school, GH¢15,000 for the contestants and another GH¢15,000 for the teachers.

The school was also presented with the Absa award of GH¢20,000 (GH¢10,000 for the contestants and GH¢10,000 for the teachers).

The Eugene Arhin Speed Award for the third placed school, valued at GH¢2,000, was also presented to OWASS.

Other awards

The Newmont Award of GH¢20,000 for the Best Performing Girls’ School went to Holy Child School, Cape Coast, while the Newmont Award of GH¢20,000 for the Best Performing School from a Deprived Community went to Boa Amposem SHS.

The Aburi Presbyterian Senior High Technical School took the 2020 Dr Kwaku Mensa-Bonsu Award of GH¢7,000 for the Most Impressive Run.

 The same school took the Jacob and Elizabeth Banful Memorial Award for the Most Impressive Run, valued at GH¢7,000.

Manuella Kwawu Elinam Mensah and Selina Sefa Elorm Mensah of the Ghana National College, Cape Coast, clinched the Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu  Award for the Most Outstanding Female Contestant, valued at GH¢5,000.

Academic scholarships

As part of the prizes, the Academic College of Medicine is offering a full medical scholarship, worth $75,000 (for six years of study) to any member of the nine schools which competed at the semi-final stage of the competition.

Academic City University College offered a $40,000-scholarship for four years to Daniel Gakpetor of Presec, Legon. 

The Central University is also offering a one-year full tuition scholarship package worth GH¢11,000.

Threat

This year’s NSMQ nearly suffered a jolt when the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) said it was going to be difficult for schools to organise their students for the contest due to the lack of funds.

However, the GES 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 the COVID-19 pandemic 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 the COVID-19.

Academic contest

The NSMQ is organised by Primetime Ghana Limited and sponsored by the GES, in partnership with Absa Bank.

It was supported by Joy News, Newmont Ghana, Central University, Airteltigo, GTP, Third Eye Care, Yfm, Adansi Travels, Goil and Prudential Life.

In an address, the Managing Director of Primetime, Nana Akua Ankomah-Asare, said the organisation of the completion in the COVID-19 era had demonstrated the resilience of the company.