The National Science and Maths Quiz is an annual competition in Ghana that focuses on science and mathematics knowledge among senior high school students. The quiz, produced by Primetime Limited, has been running since 1993 with the objective of promoting the study of sciences and mathematics while fostering healthy academic competition among schools.
Initially sponsored by Unilever’s “Brillant Soap,” the quiz is commonly referred to as “Brilla” by those who have experienced the secondary school system in Ghana. It is one of the few academic events that brings together secondary schools from across the country. The National Science and Maths Quiz holds the distinction of being the longest-running educational program on Ghanaian television, broadcasted on GTV during the quiz season every Saturday at 11 am and Wednesdays at 4 pm.
The idea for the quiz program originated in 1993 when Kwaku Mensa-Bonsu, the managing director of Primetime, was playing tennis with Professors Marian Ewurama Addy and Ebenezer Kweku Awotwe. A question about birds standing on live electric wires sparked Mensa-Bonsu’s curiosity, leading him to conceive the idea of a science and mathematics quiz. The inaugural quiz involved 32 schools divided into the Northern and Southern Sectors, with the winners from each sector competing in Accra for the national championship. Prempeh College emerged as the winner of the maiden edition.
In 1997, the geographical sector system was abolished, and Opoku Ware School and Prempeh College from the northern sector made it to the finals, with Opoku Ware School winning its first trophy. The tournament officially became known as the National Science & Maths Quiz in 1998 after losing its original sponsorship from Brillant Soap. The Ghana Education Service, through the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), took up the sponsorship of the program in 2012.
Over the years, the number of participating schools has increased, reaching 135 schools from all parts of Ghana since 2014. The selection process involves regional and zonal competitions, with 108 schools joining 27 seeded schools at the National Championships. The quiz has provided a platform for students to showcase their knowledge and skills in science and mathematics, fostering a love for these subjects.
The National Science and Maths Quiz has seen notable personalities serve as quiz mistresses, starting with Professor Marian Ewurama Addy from 1993 to 2000. Dr. Eureka Emefa Adomako took over from 2001 to 2005, followed by Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann in 2006, who has injected her unique style and occasional humor into the program. Dr. Kaufmann is supported by a team of consultants from the University of Ghana.
Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School (PRESEC-Legon) holds the record for the most successful school in the quiz, reaching the finals 11 times and winning the competition seven times. Achimota School is the only coeducational school to have won the competition, while an all-girls’ school is yet to claim the title. Since its inception, only 11 schools in Ghana have emerged as winners.
In 2021, Primetime Limited introduced the STEM Festival, comprising Mentorship Sessions and the Sci-Tech Fair, including the Sci-Tech Innovation Challenge and an Exhibition open to various educational institutions and tech firms.
The National Science and Maths Quiz has become a prestigious platform for promoting scientific and mathematical knowledge, encouraging academic excellence, and fostering healthy competition among Ghana’s senior high schools.