The ninth 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 pupils between the ages of eight and 13 years in both private and public schools, is the brainchild of Young Educators Foundation (YEF).
In all, 676 spellers from 66 schools in seven regions of the country are participating in this year’s spelling Bee competition.
Launching the event under the theme “the importance of co-curricular activities in education,” the acting Deputy Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr. Stephen Adu,
in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Divisional Director for Basic Education of the GES, Mrs. Margaret Okai, noted that education was key to development, adding that basic education required maximum attention.
He urged both pupils and parents to pay serious attention to co-curricular activities such as the spelling contest, which promotes good mental development.
“It encourages pupils 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,” he said.
He was unhappy about 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, who are all boys, he urged participating girls to contest keenly with their male counterparts.
On her part, the Country Director of YEF, Madam Eugenia Tachie-Menson, stated that the contest 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.
“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 for the support of corporate bodies.
The first session of the contest takes off today at the St John Grammar Primary and JSS.
By Raymond Ackumey