The 9th edition of The Spelling Bee (TSB) contest, an educational programme aimed at improving the spelling and literacy of children in a fun and friendly competitive environment, has been launched in Accra.
The competition opened to pupil’s between the ages of eight to 13 years in both private and public schools is the brainchild of Young Educators Foundation (YEF), the local version of the internationally acclaimed ‘Scripps Spelling Bee‘, based in the United States of America.
In all 676 spellers from 66 schools in 7 regions of the country are participating in this year’s spelling Bee competition.
Launching the event under the theme “the importance of curricular activities in education,” the acting Deputy Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr. Stephen Adu in a speech read of his behalf by the Deputy Divisional Director for Basic Education Division of the GES, Mrs. Margaret Okai, noted that education is the key to development and all concerned must give basic education the ultimate attention in our educational system, stating that if the foundation is not well fortified, the superstructure put on will in no time collapse.
He employed both pupil’s and parents to pay serious attention to co-curricular activities especially TSB, which health wise promotes good mental development and leaves the child educationally healthy.
“It encourages students to express their thoughts, speak out, contribute their ideas, builds their self-confidence, it teaches the pupils the difference between right and wrong, build their self-esteem and self-respect.”
Currently, the GES has produced documents that will ensure that all schools follow the national agenda of the type of our development process.
These material when utilized very well will bring about the needed qualities that will make children useful to themselves and the society.
Expressed sadness at the low participation of public schools in this year’s competition and encouraged them to show up in their numbers in the ensuing years.
While congratulating the top three winners from the last edition Vishal Thakwani, Kobena Asamoah and Lord Mba who are all boys, he urged participating girls to contest keenly with the male counterparts.
On her part the Country Director of YEF madam Eugenia Tachie-Menson stated that the TSB has an element of fun as a way of getting children to be interested in reading whilst broadening their vocabulary base, and learning life skills such as confidence and critical thinking, which are not taught in the classroom.
The real essence of TSB is to combine fun and friendly competition with academic challenge, and therefore encourage every parent and primary school to participate in TSB, so we can imbibe the art of ‘learning in a fun environment’ in our children.
“Co-curricular activities tend to complement classroom learning, and as such we call on the GES and her allies to consider making co-curricular activities such as TSB count in terms of the contact hours spent teaching our children.”
She revealed that sponsorship challenges has made it difficult for her outfit to carry out the programme in all 10 regions of the country as was the case in the past and called on corporate bodies to come on board and help give a good foundation to the next generation.
She thanked long-serving partners Muscatella & Voltic Ghana Limited, Rufus Green Park, PAS of US Embassy-Accra, Peace Corps Volunteers-Gh, DSTV Ghana and the GES for making it possible for this year’s edition of the TSB to come off.
The TSB train makes its first stop at the St John Grammar Primary and JSS this Friday with the DSTV sponsored Community Bee competition which would bring together over 60 representatives from different schools.
By Raymond Ackumey