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10.06.2019 Feature Article

Quiz Competition For Ten (10) Selected Schools Under The Atiwa West District

Quiz Competition For Ten (10) Selected Schools Under The Atiwa West District
JUN 10, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE


But for the supreme control of the almighty, everything about this quiz would have just been a mere imagination. Much thanks is extended to the executives of this august association for their ability to have conceived this noble vision aimed at advancing the standard of education here at the district capital.

The green light given by the District Office of the Ghana Education Service allowing for the competition to take place is what actually began causing the vision to materialize. Immeasurable gratitude is extended to them.

The brilliant direction and professional advice from the District Office of the National Commission for Civic Education is one that played a pivotal role towards the successful execution of this competition.

The District Chief Executive and the Assembly as a whole structure cannot possibly be left out of this whole moment of appreciation as they equally played a very pleasing financial role that saw this vision achieve fruition which crowned the competition with success.

Extensive gratitude is also directed to all teachers, students, supporters, philanthropists and other stakeholders for their immense contribution to the successful completion of this competition.

PREAMBLE

The vision and initiative of the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) of conducting a quiz competition as part of its roadmap of activities for the stipulated period of servitude has been successfully realized and executed. This, by far, is the first Integrated Science, Mathematics and General Knowledge quiz organized by NASPA for 10 selected public schools under the umbrella of the district. The association considers this competition as its flagship programme aimed at advancing the standard of education in the district. This was also the theme for the programme. The prime interest in organizing this competition was not to find out who would emerge winner at the end of the quiz but instead, to identify the various myriad of challenges bedeviling students at the rural setting and suggest ways to have these issues resolved for the overall betterment of the district specifically through education. It is an established fact that much premium wasn't placed on education at the rural settings. The net effect of this rather laxity in prioritizing rural education is the subsequent development of deviant and immoral lifestyles often being recorded at these areas which extensively does affect and compromise the fabric of the little state of development achieved at the urban settings.

GENERAL OVERVIEW

The Integrated Science, Mathematics and General Knowledge quiz conducted for the JHS department saw each school being represented by Two (2) contestants. The two (2) day quiz competition commenced on Monday, 20th May, 2019 and the Grand Finale, on Friday, 24th May, 2019. The 10 competing Schools were:

  1. Kwabeng Anglican JHS
  2. Banso R/C JHS
  3. Kwabeng A.M.E Zion JHS
  4. Akrofufu Presby JHS
  5. Kwabeng R/C JHS
  6. Kwabeng Islamic JHS
  7. Akrofufu R/C JHS
  8. Kwabeng Presby JHS
  9. Bomaa Presby JHS
  10. Bomaa D/A JHS

MONDAY

The Monday competition had two sessions, namely, the morning and afternoon sessions where for each session, five (5) schools contested. The selection of the school was done purely on the basis of balloting and fair selection in the case of schools who failed to turn up for the balloting. Various thought provoking questions based on Science, Mathematics and General knowledge being round 1, round 2 and round 3 respectively were asked.

INTEGRATED SCIENCE

Integrated Science was divided into 4 segments of MULTIPLE CHOICE, FILL IN's, CALCULATIONS and a final segment in all three rounds which was termed the GOLDEN ROUND.

Multiple choice comprised questions which had possible answers available for selection. Fill Ins had preambles were students were expected to insert a specific answer to that effect. In the aspect of calculations, students were expected to provide answers after solving specific questions. Golden round had a major question that was similar to all schools.

MATHEMATICS

All segments of Mathematics involved calculations in the aforementioned segmented style of the Integrated Science. It equally had multiple choice, Fill-in,

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE

Just as the name suggests, general knowledge bothered solely on Current Affairs, English, R.M.E, Social Studies, I.C.T and a bit of Sports. This round was included to ascertain students' interest in issues outside academia and also to inform them on the need to focus on extra-curricular and other issues of national interest in forming their overall state of living.

SCORE ASSESSMENT

Each correct answer was credited with 3 marks and in the case of a bonus, a mark of 1 was awarded. A particular segment where 3 marks was credited to a correct answer and 1 being deducted in the event that a question is answered wrongly was also included in the quiz to spice it up. The morning session was a challenging but interesting session as all contestants had laced up their boots very well and also had their best foot put forward. Integrated Science presented a fierce battle for supremacy relative to the other rounds as it entailed a lot. The questions were friendly and tricky as well to say the least. The results presented below summarizes it all.

MORNING SESSION (20TH MAY 2019)

SCHOOL

ROUND 1

ROUND 2

ROUND 3

TOTAL

POSITION

KWABENG PRESBY JHS 21 15 13.5 49.5 1ST
AKROFUFU R/C JHS 13 4 13.5 30.5 2ND
BOMAA D/A JHS 10 2 12 24 3RD
BANSO PRESBY JHS 7 3 10.5 20.5 4TH
KWABENG ISLAMIC JHS 3 5.5 9 17.5 5TH

One can easily deduce from the table that Kwabeng Presby JHS maintained some good consistency in terms of performance in all rounds placing them 1st.

Akrofufu R/C JHS fell short in round 2 which doubled as the Mathematics round but managed to climb up placing them second.

Bomaa D/A JHS, Banso Presby JHS and Kwabeng Islamic JHS placed 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively. In all cases, Mathematics was a challenge.

AFTERNOON SESSION (20TH MAY 2019)

SCHOOL

ROUND 1

ROUND 2

ROUND 3

TOTAL

POSITION

A.M.E ZION JHS 15 12 13.5 40.5 1ST
AKROFUFU PRESBY JHS 8 15 10.5 33.5 2ND
KWABENG R/C JHS 14 5 13.5 32.5 3RD
KWABENG ANGLICAN JHS 19 0 12 31 4TH
BANSO R/C JHS 9 3 12 24 5TH

Mathematics again, in this round was a great deal of challenge to deal with. It could easily be seen that students had quite a sound performance in Science and General Knowledge relative to Mathematics. Anglican JHS performed poorly in the field of Mathematics, affecting their overall score thus placing them 4th. Roman Catholic JHS equally suffered in Mathematics thus, placing them 3rd. The 1st and 2nd Schools could be said to have performed quite well though not impressive.

TO THE NEXT ROUND

The structure and the standard for the quiz meant that the 1st and 2nd placed schools for both sessions were the qualified ones to advance to the Grand Finale.

SCHOOL

ROUND 1

ROUND 2

ROUND 3

TOTAL

POSITION

A.M.E ZION JHS 15 12 13.5 40.5 1ST
AKROFUFU PRESBY JHS 8 15 10.5 33.5 2ND
A.M.E ZION JHS 15 12 13.5 40.5 1ST
AKROFUFU PRESBY JHS 8 15 10.5 33.5 2ND

GRAND FINALE

(24TH MAY 2019)

The grand finale presented a great deal of battle for supremacy. Students were highly prepared as the atmosphere was charged by the supporters of all sides. The euphoria alone suggested that the quiz be conducted in a friendly, fair and on a level playing field. The feeling of nervousness could easily be seen on the faces of the contestants. The finals was characterized by Multiple choice, Fill in, Preambles and Definitions for the round of Integrated Science. Mathematics encompassed Multiple choice, Fll in, Conversions, and Formulas. General bothered largely on current affairs. All rounds had their respective Golden questions. The battle began with Kwabeng A.ME dominating the first round (Science). Kwabeng Presby JHS displayed their prowess in Mathematics which was the second round and also maintained consistency through to the 3rd round which was General knowledge. An interesting finals was realized and the results are presented as follows:

SCHOOL

ROUND 1

ROUND 2

ROUND 3

TOTAL

POSITION

KWABENG PRESBY JHS 18.5 33 17 68.5 1ST
AKROFUFU PRESBY JHS 14 24 12 50 2ND
KWABENG A.M.E ZION JHS 21.5 10 15 46.5 3RD
AKROFUFU R/C JHS 7.5 20 12 39.5 4TH

Kwabeng Presby JHS carried the day with an impressive score of 68.5 followed by Akrofufu Presby JHS who placed 2nd with 50 points. A.M.E zion and Akrofufu R/C JHS placed 3rd and 4TH with a score of 46.5 and 39.5 respectively. A difference of 18.5 could easily be realized between the 1st score and that of the 2nd. This, in itself is testament to the outstanding display of brilliance by Kwabeng Presby JHS.

OBSERVATION, RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

In spite of the great academic display by students, several observations were made during the course of the competition. Some of which were positive with a lot, being negative. The negative aspect included:

  1. Lack of confidence
  2. Poor reading skills
  3. Poor answering skills
  4. Low performance in Mathematics and in some cases, Science
  5. Nervousness
  6. Poor time management
  7. Poor team work
  8. Dampened morale

DETAILS

  1. LACK OF CONFIDENCE AND NERVOUSNESS

During the course of the competition, it was realized that most of the contestants displayed a low level of confidence in attempting questions. In some cases, it appeared they knew the answers but the ability to voice them out was their Achilles' heel. A low level of confidence is one factor that doesn't only affect academic work, it also affects social life. It casts individuals in demoralized lights, thereby, affecting their entire state of being.

Kwabeng Islamic JHS, Bomaa D/A JHS, BANSO Presby JHS, Akrofufu R/C JHS had their contestants displaying a very low level of confidence. This could partly be attributed to the absence of colleagues to cheer them up. The net effect is what resulted in their low performance, pushing other schools up the ladder.

  1. POOR ANSWERING AND READING SKILLS

Loose ends were often present in the answering style of students. Students in some cases answered questions leaving out the relevant details as required by standard methods. Some found difficulties in answering certain questions dues to the theoretical nature of the syllabus. It was conspicuous that the syllabus wasn't structured to place much focus on practical work. Practical work doesn't only give students a good appreciation of what is being taught, it also, to a large extent, broadens the knowledge base of students in really understanding the nature of the real world and how things do operate.

It was also realized that students had difficulties constructing simple sentences and pronouncing simple words. The difficulty in pronouncing some of these words could also have meant that spelling them would have been an issue as well. This is an observation that was made across all contestants.

  1. LOW PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS AND IN SOME CASES, SCIENCE

The overall performance in all areas (Maths, Science and General knowledge) could not be said to be the best. Maths and Science as critical components of human living was really the point of interest. Especially with regards to mathematics, the morning and afternoon sessions saw the performance of contestants being abysmal to say the least.

Anglican JHS for example topped the first round which was Integrated Science but performed abysmally in Maths with a zero score. The abysmal performance in Maths was the ''devil'' that caused their early exit from the competition. Their performance in the first round was splendid to say the least. It could easily be seen that majority of the schools went completely down in Mathematics.

General Knowledge wasn't very encouraging as it showed the laxity and laziness displayed by students in issues of national interest and other related extracurricular activities.

The greatest issue as realized in Science was the unavailability of a Science lab. Clearly, questions that demanded practical application and understanding were not well answered.

  1. POOR TIME MANAGEMENT

Despite several time adjustments to create ample period for attempting questions, students still found challenges with answering questions. In the case of multiple choice for instance, where alternatives were provided for easy selection, students still could not answer within the standard period for answering objectives. Some expected to have a much longer period which clearly was uncharacteristic and a divergence from standard rules for examinations.

  1. POOR TEAM WORK

Collective effort is one most important factor that also helps boost the morale of students. In some instances, students understand lessons better when they are taught by their own colleagues or when they work in groups. Unfortunately, in recent times, teachers fail to inculcate the spirit of group work into students. Those who try it too, do so and leave it in the balance after a short period. The relevance of group work is also the confidence and the spirit of socialism that is being buried in students as well as co-ordination. This consolidates their confidence in speaking at public settings. The competition brought to light some instances where there was very poor coordination resulting in contestants from the same school giving out divergent answers to a specific question. Some were seen to be working differently which also affected their time for answering their round of questions.

A.M.E ZION JHS AND KWABENG PRESBY JHS displayed a very coordinated and good team work skills.

  1. DAMPENED MORALE

Generally, contestants who had their supporters present to cheer them up did very well to advance to the next round of the competition. Akrofufu R/C and Akrofufu Presby who had few supporters also had their teachers in attendance to motivate them.

The absence of supporters also affected some contestants as they complained post the competition that they felt intimidated by the cheering sounds from opposing sides.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The association hereby recommends that:

  1. LACK OF CONFIDENCE AND NERVOUSNESS

Teachers must be urged to design modules and structures that will place much emphasis on formulating the confidence framework of students. Being an educator means more than simply teaching students their daily lessons. To a large extent, children develop self-confidence in their abilities through their academic environment. Students with self-confidence pay more attention in class, get along better with their peers and generally have a more focused and inquisitive attitude. Several activities and techniques could be used to promote self-confidence in students. Some of which include:

  1. Providing positive feedback to students when appropriate.
  2. Giving praises which are genuine.
  3. Setting realistic goals for students.
  4. Adopting teaching strategies that provide an opportunity for equal participation.
  5. Creating an open, positive environment for learning.
  6. Showing enthusiasm for the subject being taught.

These methods, if considered extensively, will design a world of self-confidence in students where the weak ones, will also be fed with some good reasons to live happily and fulfilled in school.

  1. POOR ANSWERING AND READING SKILLS

The act of reading must really deal with purpose. Either to follow instructions, to find a specific information, to get the main idea of a text or to be entertained. In grammar, a distinction is made between two forms of reading: intensive and extensive reading.

Intensive reading involves the deconstruction of a text. The aim is to get as much information as possible. By reading intensively, one is concerned with every great detail related to the text. The learner is encouraged to deal with vocabulary and grammar activities to get a closer understanding of the text.

Extensive reading, however, refers to simply reading as much as possible, without concerning oneself with every detail. Occasional unknown words are not supposed to get too much attention because focus is on the overall meaning. That is to say, extensive readers look up words only when they deem it absolutely necessary to their understanding of the text.

In either cases, the focus should be on reading skills such as phonemic awareness, spelling practice, vocabulary learning, and grammar study.

Teachers must design reading strategies for students based on their reading levels. By becoming aware of these purposeful strategies, learners may get full control of reading comprehension to help them in their training.

  1. The construction of Science Laboratories for schools will do one of the greatest good for students especially those at the rural settings. For majority of students, a good understanding is achieved when lessons are practicalized. Practicalizing lessons goes a long way in helping every class of student have a very good appreciation of what is being taught. In order to understand science and its concepts, one has to look beyond the books and conventional classroom teaching. Effective teaching and learning of science involves seeing, handling, and manipulating real objects and materials. The knowledge that kids attain in classrooms will be ineffectual unless they actually can observe the process and understand the relationship between action and reaction.

Effective teaching and learning of Science involves a perpetual state of show and tell. Good schools combine classroom teaching with laboratory experiments to ensure that their students grasp each and every concept thoroughly. It is also believed that laboratory teaching and experiments that are being conducted there help encourage deep understanding in children. Children are able to retain the knowledge for longer when they see the experiments being performed right before them.

Science lab equipment allows students to interact directly and also, to get a first-hand learning experience by performing various experiments on their own.

  1. Teachers must be urged to connect the principles learnt during the course of their upper level education to what is being displayed in class. Most teachers appear to develop their own comfortable standards that clearly does digress from standards demands. The methods of teaching mathematics for example is one that suffers this challenge. Even though the challenge with students appearing to dislike and also not doing well in Maths isn't only the fault on the part of the teacher, it largely bothers on the standard and style employed by the tutor in the class.

Teachers are also expected to find a way to get students abreast with issues of national interest.

The structure of the syllabus in the case of Social Studies for example doesn't appear to favour students, especially, in the bracket of current affairs. Too much emphasis is placed on historical issues taking total focus away from current issues. The ability to develop a module to serve the interest of getting students abreast with current issues is also a factor that extensively defines the values of a teacher.

  1. Group work must be highly encouraged. Group work essentially creates an environment where students ''teach'' and explain concepts to each other. This reinforces the information provided by the instructor and also provides students the opportunity to learn the material from a peer, who may be able to explain in a way that makes more sense to other students. The concept of students working in groups also promotes a setting where collaboration and cooperation are valued and produce better results, teaching the students valuable life-long skills that are very crucial as they grow. Group work ensure that students take ownership of the subject matter, develop communication and teamwork skills and also work together to pool their expertise, knowledge and skills.

CONCLUSION

Education is very important for the personal, social and economic development of the nation. It helps empower minds that will be able to conceive good thoughts and ideas. The standard of living of the citizens of a country is largely dependent on the level of education the citizens are able to acquire. Education is very vital for the youth since they're seen as the future leaders of the world and they should be updated with current affairs and current trends in technology. This will help prepare them adequately for future exploits. At elementary stages, education is very necessary because it provides them a chance to develop mentally, physically and develop social awareness in them.

Even though the quiz failed to meet the expectations of the Association, the Association views this as a good medium to bring to light certain issues that affect rural education and how those issues could be dealt with for the overall development of the student capacity, the community and by extension, the country as a whole. It is a burning desire of the association to have much premium placed on education here at the district level so as to ensure that that the standards are uplifted to compete with that of the private schools where the notion of private schools being “better” that public schools will be treated with every contempt it deserves.

Julius Donkor
Julius Donkor, © 2019

This author has authored 6 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: JuliusDonkor

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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