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06.11.2023 Feature Article

Dr. John-Baptist Naah writes: The mesmerizing NSMQ Mistress, Prof. Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann

Dr. John-Baptist Naah writes: The mesmerizing NSMQ Mistress, Prof. Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann
06.11.2023 LISTEN

The National Science & Maths Quiz (NSMQ) for science students at the Senior High School (SHS) level in Ghana is now 30 years old. The NSMQ has not only experienced a series of improvements in its live telecasts over the years but also the quiz mistresses have delivered intriguing scientific questions on stage to talented SHS students to test their understanding of scientific and mathematical principles (e.g., Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Elective Mathematics) and how they are applied in real life situations.

The significance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in today’s technologically globalized village cannot be over-emphasized. This iconic NSMQ idea introduced by Primetime Limited is a laudable one and worthy of continued attention and sponsorship as witnessed over the years due to a myriad of reasons.

This purely national intellectual exercise has become an annual bragging platform for ‘old boys and girls’ to exaggerate and praise their alma maters. The most exciting part for me is the unimaginable confidence in winnable predictions and moments of humbling defeats. It is also exhilarating to see rival schools given technical knockouts with hefty uppercuts in the elimination stages of the competitions preceding predictions.

Personally, as a science student before, it is refreshing to listen to such complex scientific principles internalised by those brainy young students, and they deliver their answers in lightning speed.

Unfortunately, my alma mater, St. Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in the Upper West Region although not new to the NSMQ did not appear this year in the One-eighth stage to meet Prof, but we hope to come back next time to claim the 2024 NSMQ Trophy!

This NSMQ contest does not only provide great opportunities and exposure to the contestants but also help the students develop interest in STEM education and become future change leaders in society.

Kudos to various stakeholders involved in the NSMQ ranging from the organizer (Primetime Limited), sponsors, contestants, Quiz mistresses, and the watching public in the NSMQ contest for making the intellectual exercise exciting and engaging to watch.

I want to zoom in on the ‘Chief Quiz Mistress’, Prof. Dr, Elsie Effa Kaufmann who has been moderating this popular NSMQ show elegantly since 2005 until date.

I am indeed mesmerized by Prof. Kaufmann’s delivery of the NSMQ rounds with her finesse, elegance, and mesmerizing approach to engage the participating students and audience throughout the NSMQ contests over the years. It is also apparent that Prof. Kaufmann is firm and fair in her discretionary powers as the Quiz Mistress in such heated academic contests.


Chief Quiz Mistress, Prof. Dr, Elsie Effa Kaufmann interacting with contestants before the heated competition in 2020.

Apart from her beautiful and infectious smiles before, during and closing parts of the competitions, she is an internationally well-known woman scholar and distinguished herself in the Biomedical engineering field.

Taking a brief look at her profile, it confirmed the above statement. The Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering is the first woman appointed as the Dean of the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Ghana.

Aside this no mean achievement at the premier University of Ghana, she received several awards including the ‘Woman of Excellence of the Year’ by the Ghana Pharma and Healthcare in July 2023 and as the ‘Distinguished Woman in Engineering’ in November 2022 by the Ghana Institution of Engineering and other international awards.

With her Foundation, Prof. Dr, Elsie Effa Kaufmann is passionate about women and girls in science, and she is a role model to many, especially the young girls who will want to venture into the STEM education.

Prof., you have been a huge inspiration to many including myself and you should keep the flame of excellence burning for this and future generations in the field of science and beyond. There is still more room for improvement in the next NSMQ seasons.

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