This year’s National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) will see 144 senior high schools (SHSs) battling for honours and bragging rights over the sciences.
The number represents an increase over last year's 135 SHSs that took part in the competition.
The increase follows the inclusion of nine schools, which although did not win their respective regional contests but finished the contest with 40 points or better.
The nine schools are the Achimota School, Mankranso SHS, Ofori Panin SHS, Osei Kyeretwie SHS, T.I. AMASS, Kumasi, SDA SHS, Bekwai, St Monica's SHS, Tema SHS and the Winneba SHS.
They will, thus, join the 108 regional qualifiers for the preliminary stage for the national championship after which they will be joined by 27 seeded schools at the one-eighth stage for the contest which will be held for the second successive time in Kumasi from October 10 to 26, 2022.
This year's regional championship of the NSMQ, which was held from April 25 to May 28, involved 499 schools across the country.
Balloting was also held for the contest, which had the Northern School of Business, the Sunyani SHS and the Nalerigu SHS slugging it out in the first contest.
At the launch of the event in Accra yesterday, the Technical Adviser at the Ministry of Education, Sheila Naa Boamah, expressed the belief that if girls were given the same level of preparation and support that boys got for such contests, there would be a lot more balanced contestants.
"The increase in female participation will not only be good for the competition, but will also engender the healthy competition among schools that already take place anytime these competitions are ongoing,” she said.
Ms Boamah wished the contesting schools the best of luck and expressed the hope that girls and lesser known schools would make an impact.
The Director of Schools at the Ghana Education Service, Patty Assan, said the global potential for the advancement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) was high as it had contributed immensely to the growth of industries such as the energy, health and information technology, which had made life easy, safe and comfortable for preparing today's learner to become the innovators of tomorrow.
She said it began with a curriculum that promoted STEM education.
The Managing Director of Primetime Ghana Limited, organiser of the event, Nana Akua Ankomah-Asare, said the contest would return to its former format where all 108 schools that made it to the national championship through the regional qualifiers would compete at the preliminary stage.
However, she said the established COVID-19 protocols, including the wearing of nose masks and disinfection of contestants working spaces would be observed.
"I would like to commend the heads of schools and the teachers for the enormous effort they have put into preparing the students for the competition, year in year out.
"We appreciate all the personal sacrifices you have put in just to see these students thrive and to ensure their success in this competition," Nana Ankomah-Asare said.
The winning school will take home GH¢30,000, the second-placed school will receive GH¢20,000 with the third-placed school, receiving GH¢15,000.
The six semi-finalists that do not progress to the final would receive a package of GH¢8,000.
There are also cash prizes from Absa Bank, Prudential Life, Airtel Tigo, Academic City University College, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Ghana Oil (GOIL) and the Accra College of Medicine, among others.
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