The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) says it will be difficult for schools to organise their students for this year’s National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) at the regional and national levels as a result of inadequate funds.
“We, therefore, wish to inform management that until adequate funds are made available, schools will not be in the position to participate in the NSMQ in any form,” a letter signed by the President of CHASS, Alhaji Yakub A.B. Abubakar, and addressed to the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), said.
Dated February 6, 2020, the letter was copied to all regional directors of education, regional CHASS chairmen/chairpersons, all zonal CHASS chairmen/chairpersons and Primetime Ghana Limited, the organiser of the NSMQ.
“At the first quarterly meeting for 2020 held at the National CHASS Secretariat on February 8, 2020, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of CHASS has discussed thoroughly the challenges of the organisation of the NSMQ at the various levels.
“After a lengthy discussion, we have concluded that it will be difficult for schools to organise the students for the NSMQ at the regional and the national levels,” it said.
It, however, expressed the hope that the concerns of CHASS would be addressed quickly to facilitate the smooth organisation of the quiz.
The quiz 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.
It is produced by Primetime Limited and sponsored by the GES, in collaboration with CHASS, among other organisations.
The GES, in a letter to regional directors of education, acknowledged receipt of the letter from CHASS, saying "the Director-General has also received representation from some schools indicating their willingness to participate in the competition".
"In order to make an informed decision on the matter, regional directors are hereby requested to compile the list of schools which are 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.
"Regional directors’ prompt action on this exercise will be very much appreciated," the GES letter, signed by its Director-General, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, concluded. It urged the regional directors to act promptly on the request.
When reached for her comments, the Managing Director of Primetime Limited, Nana Akua Ankomah-Asare, told the Daily Graphic that her outfit was yet to receive a letter from CHASS on its decision.
“We have not received a letter from CHASS,” she said.
She, however, said her outfit would hold a meeting with CHASS over the issue today.
She expressed the hope that whatever issues the school heads had raised would be worked on.
Mrs Ankomah-Asare said the regional competitions should have started in the Western and the Western North regions yesterday, February 10, only for Primetime to receive the news from the schools.
The Upper West Regional competition should have been held today.
She explained that before the free senior high school (SHS) policy was introduced, students were levied for the competition.
“The money never came to us; it went to CHASS, out of which the programme was paid for,” she said.