A fierce academic battle awaits us today as nine senior high schools clash in what promises to be a mouthwatering semi-final of the 2019 National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ).
When the pulsating quarter final stage ended at the University of Ghana, Legon, in Accra last Saturday, the nine schools had beaten off competition from 18 others to progress to the penultimate stage of the annual competition.
In the first semi-final contests of the day, five-time champions, Presbyterian Boys Senior High School (PRESEC), Legon, who are seeking to book their place at the final to end a 10-year trophy drought, will have to beat Opoku Ware Senior High School (OWASS), two-time winners, and Adisadel College (ADISCO), one-time winners of the competition.
The defending champions, St. Peter's Senior High School (PERSCO) from Nkwatia Kwahu in the Eastern Region, are in for battle as the guns-blazing Wesley Girls’ High School (Wey Gey Hey) and Tepa Senior High School lurk around to pick the sole slot from that group into the finals.
St. Augustine's College (AUGUSCO) are fired up to add a second to the trophy they last won in 2007 but they will first have to beat Ghana Secondary Technical School (GSTS), Takoradi and Keta Senior High Technical School (KETASCO) who are both seeking to print their name on the list of winners of the NSMQ trophy.
With the final of the NSMQ scheduled to take place at the National Theatre in Accra, it is obvious that all eyes will be on the semi-final contest, especially when regional, religious, sex and other dynamics are already gathering momentum towards the D-day.
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From the regional perspective, the Central Region has the bragging rights after having produced three semi-finalists in ADISCO, AUGUSCO and Wey Gey Hey.
People from the Eastern Region will also bank their hope on PERSCO to do it for them again, while GSTS hopes to make the Western Region proud with a resounding victory.
With two representatives in OWASS and Tepa SHS, the people from the Ashanti Region will be looking to either of them to get to the finals and lay hands on the coveted trophy.
The biggest load will perhaps be on the head of PRESEC who only have no excuse not to break the 10-year trophy drought but also cannot afford to disappoint the about four million residents of the Greater Accra Region.
KETASCO will also be justifying why the Volta Region has the tallest Mountain in Afadza by standing tall among other contenders.
From the permutations, it is possible that we can have all three finalists coming from the Central Region, given the fact that ADISCO, Wey Gey Hey and AUGUSCO are contesting in three different sets of semi-final contests and stand a chance of picking the slots.
Eastern Region could also produce a finalist should PERSCO win its contest.
Such is the case with the Ashanti Region which could also have both OWASS and Tepa SHS in the finals.
Greater Accra and Volta regions are mostly at risk of losing out of the final berth as they only look up to their sole representatives - PRESEC and KETASCO respectively to protect their bragging right.
It could also be a fairly represented finals involving schools from three different regions locking horns for the coveted trophy.
Apart from the regional dynamics, what makes the semi-finals so big a deal is the fact that PRESEC, PERSCO, OWASS, ADISCO and AUGUSCO need to pick their slots to the final to add up to the five, three, two and one trophies they have won, respectively.
Better still, it is possible to have a unisex final with PRESEC, ADISCO, PERSCO, AUGUSCO and Wey Gey Hey all making a strong case for unisex schools.
On the other side of the coin, there is also the possibility that all the unisex schools will not make it to the final.
This will particularly be the case when OWASS, Tepa SHS and KETASCO win their contests.
The NSMQ is organised by Primetime Limited and sponsored by the Ghana Education Service, GOIL among others.