By Tosin Kolade
A 13-year old student, Excellent Edwin-Isotu, has won the 2023 Junior Category to represent Rivers State at the Nigeria Spelling Bee Competition.
Edwin-Isotu, a student of Graduate High School, Port Harcourt, will represent the state in the national competition, scheduled to hold from July 26 to July 29 in Rivers State.
The National Coordinator of the programme, Abdulsalam Ibrahim, in a statement on Tuesday, said the goal of the Nigeria Spelling Bee Competition was to promote literacy among Nigerian students, and reward learning with amazing opportunities.
Ibrahim said the competition was crucial as a lot of young people had formed the habit of using slangs, shortening words while writing, blaming the trend on the advent of social.
He said English language was a prerequisite for learning, adding that its mastering at all times should be considered pertinent, especially for students and young people, who were the future of the country.
“Having been charged by the Federal Ministry of Education to produce the best of Nigeria and project them as Team Nigeria at international stages, we aim to bring out the very best wordsmiths and readers to do Nigeria proud.
“This is the reason for organising spelling competitions among Nigerian school students, to promote accurate spelling of the commonly used English words and improve the knowledge of students.
“We do not give the spellers words to learn, they have to study words from the dictionary, at the National level, they have to write essays too.”
Ibrahim said the competition was aimed at improving learning for spelling and comprehension of concepts, adding that a study guide had been prepared to guide spellers and teach rules of spelling.
He noted that spellers were actively engaged in learning communication and public speaking skills, as well as building their self-esteem.
He said the organisation was worried about the common mistakes students and writers often made in the usage of English words and in the three major Nigerian languages.
According to Edwin-Isotu’s tutor, Mr Evans Kingsley, he is optimistic that the boy will do Rivers State proud at the National Finals and beyond.
“I see the confidence in him and he has proven it, so I am optimistic that we will become victorious.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that winners of the Regional Stage will progress to the National Finals where they will compete for a chance to win A Grand Prize of N1,000,000 Scholarship, among other prizes
More than 700 students from secondary, primary and institutional platforms in Rivers State, participated in the competition..
National Champions also win an all-expenses-paid trip to represent Nigeria at the African Spelling Bee Competition in November in Ethiopia.