The Arts and Tourism Writers Association of Ghana (ATWAG) has called on Professor Elsie Effah Kaufmann, Mistress of the National Science and Math Quiz (NSMQ), to apologise for a recent comment she made on Starr FM.
The Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (PRESEC) emerged winners of the 2023 NSMQ, becoming an eight-time winner of the competition.
PRESEC got 40 points at the end of the competition, with second-placed Achimota School getting 28 points and third-placed Opoku Ware School, 23 points.
In an interview with Bola Ray on Starr FM, Professor Elsie Effah remarked, “While other schools are engaged in singing and dancing, PRESEC conducts quiz programs within their school.”
ATWAG President George Quaye said in an open statement that Professor Kaufmann’s comment was “inappropriate” and demonstrated a “lack of respect for the arts, including singing and dancing.”
Quaye argued that the arts are as important as science and mathematics and that they play a vital role in Ghanaian culture and society. He also pointed out that many students who excel in the arts also excel in science and mathematics.
“Her comments are not only insensitive, but they are also inaccurate. Many schools in Ghana excel in both the arts and sciences, including PRESEC itself.”
Quaye called on Professor Kaufmann to apologise for her comment and to “reconsider her views on the importance of the arts.”
Below is the full statement.
November 3rd 2023
OPEN LETTER TO PROFESSOR ELSIE EFFAH KAUFMANN QUIZ MISTRESS, NATIONAL SCIENCE AND MATHS QUIZ REQUEST FOR APOLOGY AND RESPECT FOR ARTS STUDENTS
Dear Professor Kaufmann,
We hope this letter finds you well. Here’s to express our deep concern and disappointment regarding your statement during a recent interview with Bola Ray on Starr Chat.
The comment, “While other schools are singing and dancing, PRESEC-Legon is having quiz programs in their school,” has left many of us feeling insulted and disrespected.
We believe it is important to recognize and appreciate the value of science and the Arts in our society. While science and math are undoubtedly crucial subjects, it is equally important to acknowledge the significant role that the Arts and Humanities play in shaping our world. They foster creativity, critical thinking, empathy, and cultural understanding.
In light of the rapid advancements in AI and technology, it becomes even more crucial to emphasize the importance of the Arts. These fields provide the emotional and imaginative aspects that AI cannot replicate. They contribute to the fabric of our society and enhance our overall well-being.
We kindly request that you reflect on the unintended consequences of your statement and acknowledge the insult it carries towards schools and individuals who prioritize the Arts and Humanities. It is essential to respect and appreciate the diverse talents and interests of students in all fields of study.
Moreover, we urge you to consider issuing a public apology to demonstrate your accountability and respect for all students, regardless of their academic pursuits.
By doing so, you will help foster an inclusive and supportive environment that celebrates the contributions of both Science and the Arts.
We also call upon Primetime Limited, the show’s producers, to address this matter promptly and ensure that all participants and viewers feel valued and respected.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. We hope that you will consider our request and take appropriate action to rectify the situation. Together, we can build a society that appreciates and uplifts all areas of knowledge.
George Quaye ([email protected] ) President