The 2016 airing of the once prestigious Schools Challenge Quiz has seen that enitity stripped of its integrity. Schools are crying foul to the extent that Camperdown has taken TVJ to court over a controversial match with Ardenne and social media is buzzing with suggestions that since Ardenne was granted a re-match, so too should Kingston College.
The long-running quiz programme which had its glory days with acclaimed quizmaster, Dennis Hall, sees high schools competing for the coveted title of academic excelllence – the Schools’ Challenge Quiz trophy. However, Schools’ Challenge Quiz has been brought into disrepute following a match between Camperdown and Ardenne. The academically robust Ardenne High School lost to Camperdown, a school which is perceived as totally not in their league academically or otherwise. After the programme was aired on TVJ, it was subsequently announced that there had been a scoring error in Camperdown’s favour and that the match should have ended in a draw.
Naturally, this did not go down well with Camperdown. A re-match was called for. Ardenne won 34 – 30. (As an aside, many are wondering how a mere four points separated the not-so-bright C-down from the brilliant Ardenne High. Much food for much thought.). At the end of the re-match, however, Camperdon is still feeling like they were unfairly treated. On Wednesday, the Camperdown High School, on behalf of its team served Television Jamaica (TVJ) with an injunction – halting the rest of the present Schools’ Challenge Quiz (SCQ) season.
In its statement of the matter, TVJ worte, “During the Board meetings on Wednesday, the company’s attorney was served with notice that Camperdown [is] seeking an injunction from the courts to halt the present season of Television Jamaica’s Schools’ Challenge Quiz until it has resolved the matters to their satisfaction.”
“The application is to be heard on Thursday and the Boards of RJR and TVJ have advised the management to stoutly present its case including making clear that all schools have agreed to abide by the decisions of the judges and that the judges’ decision is final,” the statement ended.
In another brouhaha at this year’s quiz, four points were deducted from Kingston College during their quarter-final match, which resulted in KC being belatedly declared losers to Campion College. After KC was awarded the two points for giving a correct answer, the points were then deducted because it was said that KC did not pronounce ‘Absalom” correctly. A review of the tape allegedly shows that KC did in fact pronounce the word correctly, but Campion was still unfairly named the winner and has progressed. Another spear in the integrity of the TVJ Schools’ Challenge Quiz competition.
This also brings into question the integrity of the so-called ‘winning schools’. Schools must be careful what values they pass on to their students.
Notably, this is not the first time that TVJ is facing questions about the integrity of the competition. Accusations of cheating have been levelled from time to time, with even the Observer publiching a letter in 2013 with the headline: ‘Bitter and disillusioned over SCQ match”, raises serious integrity questions. The writer, Darron Fraser stated: “The TVJ Schools’ Challenge Quiz match aired on Friday, January 18 between Excelsior High School and Campion College has left many persons quite bitter and disillusioned.The match ended 49 – 47 in favour of Excelsior. After all queries were done in the studio the score was still 49 – 47 in Excelsior’s favour. The competitors for both teams were arranged on the set and the captain for the Excelsior team was to give his victory speech. There was an interruption and the judges and the team coaches were called to a meeting in the control room. Lo and behold, upon emerging from the control room it was announced that Excelsior had eight points deducted from their score which meant that Campion were now declared the victors. Four points were deducted because it was determined that the answer given to a Chemistry question was now wrong. The question had been queried in the studio by Campion’s coaches and the judges had dismissed their query, saying that the answer that was given by Excelsior was correct.
“So the question that had been deemed correct in public was now incorrect after the private meeting…..the exact question was asked in a Schools’ Challenge match between Kingston College and Oberlin in 2012, and the same answer, carbon 14, was given and accepted as correct. How can an answer which was correct last year and correct in studio this year become incorrect in the control room of TVJ? Excelsior was also penalised four points for responding without being verbally acknowledged. Nobody on the set, including the quizmaster by his own admission, had realised that he had not acknowledged Excelsior. He had ample time to acknowledge the team but didn’t. Even though the quizmaster publicly said the error was his, the team was still penalised.”
Meanwhile, social media has a lot to say and TVJ’s Facebook page has been bombarded with comments lambasting the competition for its unfair treatment of certain schools.
“BUN MI FI DAH OLE BORING, CORRUPTED STATION YAH U C, d one program weh ppl watch pon tvj uno chose fi bring corruption to it a come talk bout rematch bcuz Cmperdown knock out Ardenne, but remember when uno a dig ole, try dig two, ole crosses pop dung station, boring to the 10th power x 100. Mi hot fi uno.”
“Bun me a bun out school challenge right now. The one time Camperdown reach thus far oonuh pluck card and a chat bout rematch #kmt. Not even a watch no more a oonuh program.”
“Thats it for me. Not watching anymore School’s challenge quiz. i have lost all faith in TVJ.