If you like quizzes, like I do, you should definitely follow The Sharks Quiz on TV3. I chanced on the quiz two years ago and have been impressed since with the design and appeal of the competition. The quiz is quite different from the National Science and Math Quiz, which we are all accustomed to, and brings a dint of fresh air to our education setup. Here are some observations I’ve made about the Quiz.
1. While most quizzes are skewed to one area, The Sharks Quiz has a refreshing broad-base appeal to it. Questions which bother on English, Mathematics, Science and General Knowledge give everyone something to look forward to. My younger siblings are able to watch and try their hands on the questions. And so does my mom when she has the time. It’s inviting, non-discriminatory approach to academics is what got my attention in the first instance.
2. I like that team-work is promoted in the set-up. Each school presents a team of five students who could be studying different subjects. Team members have to collaborate to come up with answers. Generally, from my observation the Arts students are better in English and General Knowledge while the Science students dominate in Mathematics and Science. This is not always the case though, Last year, Presec – Legon presented a fantastic all-round business student, Joojo who became one of my favorites and is studying at the Yale University.
3. Individual excellence is promoted as well. The quiz has four rounds – Right Corner round which focuses on Ghana and Africa, R cube round which focuses on Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, STEM round which focuses on Science, Technology Engineering and Math and my personal favorite One-on-one round where a member of the team squares off with another member of the opposing team on one of the four subject areas. The tension during the final around is always interesting as contestants feel the pressure to deliver for their schools.
4. The brand is aspirational. The Junior Sharks focuses on students at the junior high level while the Senior Sharks focus on the high school students. Also the quiz opens up to public, private and international schools. I have seen very interesting contests between international schools and public schools, and I’m sure the students learn a lot from each other both on and off the stage.
5. Ghana Christian International High has been the most dominant side of the competition; winner of the first Senior Sharks and the first Junior Sharks. The famous Denzel from Christian High was spectacular to watch in the first season. Other notable names are Peter, Setorr and Akua from Christian High, Kingsley from St. Thomas Aquinas, Newton from Mawuli School, Rina from British International School among others. Opoku Ware School are the defending champions and hoping to be the first side to successfully defend the trophy. Pesec-Legon, Adisadel College, Pope John Senior High, Mawuli and St.Thomas Aquinas have been very impressive in the past seasons. I honestly believe an all-girls’ school will win this competition sometime soon.
6. The Sharks competition as I have observed leverages on the use of innovation and technology in the Quiz setup. The format of competition’s questions highlights the truth that education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think. The questions focus on how students really understand the practicability of what’s being taught in school and not just the rote memorization of facts. And the quizmaster Patrick Stephenson brings that to bare nicely with the skillful way he expresses his questions. If the future is young, the sharks quiz has embraced the future well.
7. The Sharks Quiz has an international feel to it. I understand the English, Math and Science questions are sourced from international partners. This makes them eligible to participate in International Olympiads. Last year some selected students participated in the International Economics Olympiad, where one student picked up a bronze medal. Also the junior winners represented Ghana at the International Junior Science Olympiad in Qatar.
The Sharks Quiz is an example of what Ghanaian students need to be globally competitive and I hope to see more of our students participate in the local quiz as well as the International Olympiads to brandish their brainpower against peers from across the globe. I dove my hat to the organizers of The Sharks Quiz for this brilliant concept and I hope in time more sponsors will support this worthy cause.