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Calabar: Lamentations At Spelling Bee Competition

Edem Edem in Calabar witnessed the lamentations of dignitaries at the embarrassing level of misspellings in English language among students and the young in Cross Rivers State schools and reports

It was all lamentation galore in Calabar during the week when the Spelling Bee Competition took center stage among students of colleges in Cross Rivers State. The embarrassing increase in misspellings of English words among students is so alarming that the first lady had to sue for cooperation between parents, teachers and relevant NGOs to arrest the ugly trend. According to the first lady, Dr. Linda Ayade, literacy is an indisputable key driver for sustainable development of every society as it provides knowledge and skills with which people acquire and change their attitudes and values positively to effectively transform their society.

Dr Ayade made this assertion at the opening of the Spelling Bee Competition organized by Zoe Help Foundation, for students in public and private school in Calabar. The event was held at Transcorp Hotel, Calabar.

The Governor’s wife, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Dr. (Mrs.) Mary–Therese Agba, commended the organizers for the event and noted that spelling has become a nightmare to the young due, partly, to the craze for short forms in text messaging and the accepted culture of misspelling on social media platforms.

According to her, “a paper released by the English spelling societies agrees that the social media has indeed revolutionized the English Language and made misspelling the norm, as a result, people often think that the message in any write up is more important than spelling or grammar”. Dr. Ayade recalled the poor performance of students in the Essay/Quiz Competition organized by her office for secondary schools across the State and called on parents and teachers to redouble their efforts so as to create meaningful impact on the children.

The Governor’s wife therefore pledged continued support towards the realization of a seamless synergy between the political elite and the educational sector, adding that, she looked forward to a future where every stakeholder will contribute towards the realization of providing good education for the citizenry.

Dr. (Mrs.) Ayade expressed delight for the success of the spelling competition, pointing out that it is an innovative contribution worthy of support and hoped that her office will collaborate in a meaningful way with Zoe Help Foundation to eradicate the ugly trend to save society from chaos in the future. She added that, if more people were encouraging children like the Zoe Foundation, what she referred to as “Miracle Centers” would no longer be patronized.

In an interview, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Zoe Help Foundation, Obaya Bassey, said the essence of the competition is to enable students return to their dictionaries for correct spelling, maintaining that a lot of students cannot spell words correctly because of the wholesome patronage of social media reputed for thriving on the abbreviation of words, which has contributed to their poor performance in English Language examination; adding that, spelling competition would enhance the performance and develop sound brains at the Secondary school levels.

In his closing remarks, the Onun Usor of Adim, Elder Bassey, expressed gratitude to God for the successful event and thanked the Principals of schools for allowing their students participate in the competition. He also commended the students for their boldness and courage to face the audience without stage fright. Elder Bassey advised students to work harder to enable them to emerge victorious in the next edition and solicited for support by Zoe Help Foundation to enable him sustain the exercise.

At the end of the Spelling Bee Competition, Master Ovaisam John Enem of Hope Waddell Training Institute Calabar, came first; Master Alpha Otu of St. Ann’s High School Calabar, took second position while Master Chukwudi Joseph of St. Patrick’s College, Ikot Ansa, Calabar, took the third position. There was also a competitive session in Public Speaking Competition with the theme “Effect of Social Media on Academic Performance”. In the end, Miss Judith Chinecherem Chigbo of NYSC Secondary School, Calabar, emerged the overall winner.

In a response by Master Ovaisam John Enem, who emerged overall winning in the Spelling bee Competition, he expressed appreciation to his parents and teachers for their support and encouragement.

Surprisingly he had good things to say about social media. He said he uses social media for positive impact, which has contributed to his brilliant performance. Highpoints of the ceremony were presentation of gift items/award of prizes to the winners of the Competition, as well as consolation prizes, amongst others.

The event proved to be an eye opener for everyone, participants, guests and organisers alike; they all came away with the impression that a synergy must be created among the parents, government and civil society to make the resolutions taken work.

–  Edem Edem

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