THE Big Quiz is back - and coming to a school near you.
Gone is the former championship-style competition of The Straits Times-Ministry of Education (MOE) National Current Affairs Quiz, in its third year.
Instead, four standalone rounds will be played at school campuses in different areas.
Before each round, pre-university students will hear from The Straits Times journalists and have the chance to ask them questions.
Students in their first year of pre-university or Integrated Programme Year 5 of 25 participating schools can register in teams of three to compete. Winning teams will each receive $600 worth of vouchers.
The Straits Times associate editor Sumiko Tan said decentralising the contest will allow more students to share the excitement.
"The two Big Quizzes that we've had were very exciting as students were tested not just on their current affairs knowledge but their ability to strategise and react quickly," she added.
MOE director of curriculum planning and development division 2, Mrs Kelvyna Chan, said: "The refreshed format also places a particular emphasis on the fun of participating."
Hosting these power-packed sessions from May to August are Serangoon Junior College (SRJC), Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC), Hwa Chong Institution and Dunman High School (DHS).
SRJC General Paper subject head Karina Kwan said: "We hope that our students will be able to see news come alive and be more than just words on a page or a means to answer an essay question."
For DHS, the Big Quiz rounds act as a "nice culmination" to the school's in-house quizzes, started this year to encourage students to read newspapers regularly.
ACJC principal Beatrice Chong said: "It will be great for our students to learn about the perspectives from a journalistic point of view, and the challenges faced by national reporters who need to bridge a cross-section of perspectives and interests, some of which may be sensitive in nature."
Boosting students' knowledge of hot topics in the news is a series of 12 weekly primers starting today. The series, anchored by The Straits Times journalists and correspondents, will cover topics ranging from transport to regional relations and the arts.
The presenting sponsor for the Big Quiz for the third year running is the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Foundation, a charity whose aims include supporting organisations and projects that promote education.
Its general manager, Ms Ginney Lim, said: "In this highly globalised world, it is important to be knowledgeable about things that happen around us. The Big Quiz serves as an effective platform to provide students with the right motivation and inculcate in them a good habit to read up on current affairs."
For more information, go to www.straitstimes.com/thebigquiz.