x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pupils show off their knowledge in quiz competition

More than 3,000 children from 58 schools battled for brainy bragging rights in the Talent Search Quiz Competition.

Aswin Narayanan, left, and Sreeradh Radhakrishnan won the junior round of the Talent Search Quiz Competition yesterday.
Aswin Narayanan, left, and Sreeradh Radhakrishnan won the junior round of the Talent Search Quiz Competition yesterday.

ABU DHABI // The contestants on stage knew their fate would be sealed soon after the quizmaster slowly read the last question. "If a group of cattle is called a herd, what is a group of insects called?" The query was posed to the last eight junior contestants from among 3,000 pupils from 58 schools around the country who gathered at the Abu Dhabi Indian School yesterday to participate in the Talent Search Quiz Competition.

Soon after the juniors exited the stage, the seniors who had qualified took their place. Among them was Navin Narayanan, 14, from the Indian High School in Dubai. He and 15 schoolmates travelled from Dubai to represent their school. "My friends, they are happy for me that one of us made it," he said. "Now they will cheer for me." The quizmaster, Anil Pakale, said the number of children eager to win bragging rights as the smartest ones around had grown bigger during the four years of the quiz. The event was organised by the Innovative Development Centre for Educational Aptitude (Idea), a social organisation that focuses on the development of children.

About 2,000 entries were expected, but organisers had to stop accepting applications after an additional thousand had registered. "They will be tested on everything under the sun," Mr Pakale said of the written qualifiers, where children answered 36 multiple-choice questions in 30 minutes. The next stage included nine rounds of questions on stage. Some used it as an opportunity to catch up with friends. Having transferred schools two months ago, Hiba Elliyas, 14, chatted with friends from the Emirates Future International Academy in Musaffah. She was also kept an eye on her younger sister, Afuja, who was trying for a spot in the junior quiz round.

As they headed in to watch the finals, clusters of children were discussing the qualifiers. Mohammed Midhlaj, 13, from the Model School in Abu Dhabi, had spent two days reading general knowledge quiz books. "This was my first experience," he said. "It was a good experience to prepare you for future exams." His classmate, Nobin John, 13, said the questions were confusing. "There were a lot of questions on physics and computers," he said. "I like physics a little bit, but still ?"

And so it came down to a collective noun for insects. In a flurry of buzzers and flashing lights, the junior round was over. Sreeradh Radhakrishnan, 12, from the Abu Dhabi Indian School, and Aswin Narayanan, 10, from the Global Indian International School in Dubai, Team A, couldn't answer. Another team knew the answer was "a swarm", but their response was late. Team A had won, and Sreeradh and Aswin flashed victory signs.

P Anirudh, 12, from the Sunrise English Private School in Musaffah was dejected. His team was second. After the written qualifiers, discussing the answers with his friends, Anirudh had just realised he had made only three mistakes when his father's phone rang to tell him his son had qualified for the final round. Anirudh ran towards the auditorium with his father yelling, "Check that once more!" "At first I was nervous but once I started I gained confidence," he said later. "But we almost came first, so I'm only a little happy."

@Email:sbhattacharya@thenational.ae