St Peter’s Catholic Nursery and Primary School has won the maiden edition of the Lagos Mainland Spelling Bee Competition (LMSBC).
The school beat 55 other schools of the total 280 primary school students who partook in the competition that lasted eight weeks across various locations within the Lagos Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.
In the keenly contested finals held on Friday in Lagos, Mariam Balogun of St Peter’s led her school to victory.
Miss Balogun went home with a cash prize of Fifty Thousand Naira (N50,000), a tab preloaded with educational materials, aside other prizes.
The first runner-up was Morayo Abolade of Oluwole Nursery and Primary School and the second runner-up was Basit Raji of Ahmadiyyah Nursery and Primary School, Iwaya.
Miss Abolade got a cash prize of Thirty Thousand Naira (N30,000) while Mr Raji got Twenty Thousand Naira (N20,000) among other prizes.
The other six finalists also got consolations prizes such as bags, books, T-shirts among other things.
Winning school gets library for teachers, students
The organisers of the contest, Educational Aid Global Initiative (Edu-Aid) said the winning school would be getting a well equipped library for both students and teachers.
In an interview with EduCeleb.com, Olufemi Orawusi of Edu-Aid explained that beyond encouraging the students, the teachers should be empowered to do more.
“We realise that no matter how much we do for these children, we only spend a little time with them. The teachers who actually spend a lot of time with them. It is better to build the capacity of the teachers so that they, in turn, can now affect the students.”
“The library is not just for pupils but also for teachers. It would be a resource centre so that they can go there and learn about current trends in the psychology of learning, teaching methods, and other things to improve the learning process.” he stated
He added that the competition aligns with Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and equally supports the Nigerian government drive at promoting compulsory basic education among all citizens.
“This is a tool to achieve that end. We understand that spelling bee is not just about spelling. There is a lot more to it than that. It builds your confidence and capacity. It encourages you to study and learn new things. It also gives you some confidence to be able to articulate yourself in front of everyone.” he added.
Since its establishment in 2005, Edu-Aid had been engaging in projects to facilitate quality education for public primary school children. The non-governmental organisation is an initiative of the Covenant Christian Centre.
LGEA commends Edu-Aid
The Lagos Mainland Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) commended Edu-Aid for its initiative.
Its Education Secretary, Tijani Tajudeen said the competition gives the school children an opportunity to compete favorably using their talents.
“This kind of programme gives our public school children an opportunity to display their talents and let them know that they can compete with their colleagues anywhere in the world,” Mr Tajudeen said.
He encouraged the participants to embrace the spirit of sportmanship irrespective of them not emerging the best.
In his words, “As sportsmen, there is bound to be winners and losers. In this case, everybody is a winner. There is no loser at all.
“It is not an easy task to qualify from the preliminaries to the final stage. This kind of competition should be encouraged by the society as it would be giving them (participants) the opportunity to compete favorably anywhere.”
He recalled that a school in the local government recently won a statewide quiz competition among primary schools. Military Primary School, Yaba reportedly won the competition among the public and private primary schools that contested.
“This is an indication that education is progressing in Lagos State. If they can make it at this level, when they get to higher levels of education, they would definitely make it. I, therefore, implore more philantropists to support this sort of project.”
Other initiatives of the organisers
Dr Orawusi, who is the Project Coordinator of Edu-Aid, told EduCeleb.com that a major programme of Edu-Aid is a book club, where such level of students are taught to read and write.
He said that this had also extended to teaching the young children engineering concepts, arts and crafts, among other things to broaden their horizon about life.
“Our message to the children had always been that they understand that their environment should not limit them to achieve greatness. We have taught them that they can aspire so much more,” he said.
Among the other projects of Edu-Aid is a regular health awareness screening for the kids attending such schools.
The organisers hope to see students learn more as it expands the competition beyond the Lagos Mainland in the years ahead.