Takoradi Technical University, TTU, yesterday 10th November 2021 put up a spirited fight to beat University of Cape Coast to place second in the zone 3 finals of the Gas Challenge held at the TTU auditorium. Although the University of Mines and Technology, UMaT, won the zone 3 finals with two-point lead over TTU to qualify for the grand finale, the TTU contestants including Lordina Nunoo, Aaron Erskine Yamoah, Francis Martey and Kwesi Akwaful, outshined both UMaT and UCC when it came to the actual problem solving and calculations part in round 2 with UMaT and UCC performing abysmally.

After the fifth round of the contest, with questions surrounding policy and operations about Ghana’s petroleum industry, especially Ghana National Gas Company, UMaT won the zone 3 contest with 60 points, closely followed by Takoradi Technical University with 58 points and University of Cape Coast coming last with 57 points. UMaT will however meet University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology who have already qualified from zone 1 and 2 respectively at the grand finals.

The Gas Challenge is an inter-tertiary level quiz competition initiative by the Ghana National Gas Company to deepen students understanding about their operations as well as Ghana’s Petroleum Industry to help develop students interest in the petroleum industry.

Following what the TTU contingent calls unfair scoring by the Quiz Mistress, there was a protest by the TTU team. Justice John Owusu, a Lecturer and the Lead Coach of the TTU team said although they were unhappy for the unfair denial of points to their contestants, he is however happy with their performance.

“The performance I think was acceptable. They did well but there were a couple of questions that we had to protest. The first one was a question they asked that had three words in the answers, now with the first mention we got it right but the Quiz Mistress asked the question again and then our guy got confused so in the process he got the answer wrong. Meanwhile he had earlier mentioned two words out of the three correctly, yet he was denied the points... Now the second point is where the answer is supposed to be gas velocity but UMaT contestant said just velocity and then they said that was okay and gave it to him. Even you could see that at the beginning the Quiz Mistress was confused and had to consult. This I think they have not been fair to us but we didn’t have a choice than to accept it like that”, he said.

Lead Coach Owusu was however full of praise to the TTU contestants for the show of competence exhibited in the round 2 involving calculations which he said must be the standard for tertiary level quiz competition.

“In fact the second round was very exiting. UMaT had 9 points, UCC had 12 and we had 17, and that was the most difficult round which we won. So you see that my team did very well but subsequent rounds we had some issues with the results as we disputed. Technical education under normal circumstances is not supposed to be based on memorization, you should be able to understand and apply the knowledge you have acquired and that was what they did in the second round including the calculations. The very difficult questions they gave our students, even the one they gave the UMaT, they couldn't answer and we even had the bonuses for all… In all I think our people did very well. I think subsequent contest should be based on application of the knowledge particularly involving calculations and then those kind of good understanding of the study guide not just memorizing. if you talk about memorizing we can give to anybody at all”, he added.

Speaking to Citi News after the event in a reaction to the protest and concerns about the quality of questions, the Senior Manager for Government Relations at Ghana Gas, Augustine Asare Osei said it is a concern the committee will look at.

“It is something that the committee would need to review and look at. However, we do recognize that we need to perhaps modify the nature of the questions but that is something that the committee needs to consider and we will come back to you on that. I think the competition was very healthy despite some protest and that tells you also how keen the competition was, it was extremely close… We have mechanisms in place to deal with this type of protest so it's just a healthy one”, she said.

Augustine Asare Osei who also doubles as the Chairperson for the Gas Challenge Committee said the Gas Challenge is not only educating the youth about the petroleum sector but providing job opportunities.

“as part of our vision, the Gas Challenge is to equip and sure that the future of Gas in this country is being driven by our young people. As I stand here, finalists of the 2019 competition and to be specific the winners and also the first runner up after they did their national service at the Ghana National Gas Company are officially staff of Ghana Gas. I encourage you to really work hard and understand that knowledge is indeed power. Perhaps they would have never gotten the opportunity to work at Ghana Gas but through this medium we were able to scout the very best for our industry to take over the industry…It’s about time that we take over our industry as Africans and Ghana Gas is one of not the only industry in this country that is fully indigenized where from the top, CEO to the last staff is all indigenous people and you are all helping to make sure that the indigenization agenda is properly executed“, she added.

The Vice Chancellor of TTU, Rev. Prof. John Frank Eshun, while commending Ghana Gas for choosing TTU to host the zone 3 competition, described the Gas Challenge as timely for promoting the protection for the environment in the current face of global warming.

“Indeed, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 1, 7 and 13 respectively seek to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all and take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Gas is one of our many God-given resources which can power our industrialization agenda and create the jobs necessary to end endemic poverty, provide secure and equitable energy supply and do so in an environmentally sustainable manner even as we transition into a low-carbon future. The Gas Challenge is therefore a timely initiative that will educate us all on a key resource which must be properly leveraged in order to achieve our shared environmental and socio-economic aspirations”, he said.

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