Winners have emerged in the state finals of the Spell&Thrill!™ competition held in the last three weeks. The events, which took place in various state capitals in Southwestern Nigeria, featured primary and secondary school students from the states.
Spell&Thrill!™ is a spelling competition aimed at improving the spelling skills, and academic concentration and focus of pupils and students in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. It is an initiative of Educand Education Initiative (EEI) which also seeks to increase their vocabulary, improve their reading habit, and build self-esteem and confidence, and stage composure.
The competition had been running within the Southwestern Nigeria for the past six years. This year’s edition makes it the fifth since it didn’t hold in 2013. The winners in the state finals had gone through an intense drill in spelling of all categories of words with varying degrees of difficulties.
In the secondary school category for Ogun State, Basayr Abibat of Ijebu Muslim College, and Aminu Peter of Adeoye Lambo Memorial High School, Obada became top contenders for the regional finals. Other winners are Adesiyan Oluwakorede, Musa Ajakaiye Olamide, Oladapo Ayomikun all of The Ambassadors Schools. Mariam Akinyemi of District High, Ipokia, Thomas Ibukunoluwa of Brainests College, Ibafo, and Temidayo Success from Victorroti Private Secondary School, Olokuta also got the chance represent their states in the finals.
Also to represent the Ogun State in the primary category are Chukwu Charity of Salvation Army Primary School, Shagamu, and Adeyinka Ayomidipupo of Brainest Montessori School, Magboro. Olukoga Temitope, Adeniyi Quayum and Opeifa Victor all of UAMC School, Shagamu also emerged.
An official of the Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mr Leoso Eyitayo, sees the programme as a way of improving the “the reading standards of our students in all strata considering the dwindling reading culture among students these days. Such a programme is highly expedient at this time.”
An headteacher, Mr Arigbede Olanrewaju Oluwole appreciated the organisers of Spell&Thrill!™ for innovation and thanked the Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) for keying into it.
In his words, “the way the event is organised is quite interesting. They are able to pick out the best among the spellers. At the same time, I appreciate the Ogun SUBEB through which approval was sought to organise this event for our schools. They were the one who asked us to bring our pupils here.”
Oluwole chairs the Ifo area of Ifo Local Government Area chapter in the Association of Primary School Headteachers of Nigeria.
“This is a wonderful programme and we want more of it to come so that we would be able to train our pupils ahead. It is a way of motivating our pupils to work harder and testing the performaces of teachers on the job,” he added.
Another official of the Ogun SUBEB from Yewa South LGA, Kabiru Oyeyemi told EduCeleb.com that competition helps to develop the intellect of pupils and complements government’s efforts “because government alone cannot do it. That is why they say education for all is the responsibility of all.”
Oyeyemi called on other nongovernmental organisation to come up related projects to salvage the education sector.
On the emergence of many public schools among the finalists from the state, he attributed this to the improving quality of public education in the state.
“Our public school provide quality education, and teachers are more certified than those in the private schools just as our efforts faces more scrutiny from government than theirs. That is to tell you that government is playing its own part regarding the development of education in the state.”
Bringing educators and students together
The initiator of Spell&Thrill!™, Ayotunde Ikulamberu, said the competition has helped his team to create a platform to bring together educators and students.
“It has helped us to create a platform to bring together educators and students. It is to actually create a sort of platform where students and guage their level of diligence outside of the classroom environment, and relationship between teachers and students.”
“Also, this has been avenue for us to be able to a reward system for such level of diligence and pragmatism, as it were.”
Speaking on the value the competition had added, he said that “most of the schools are coming to terms with the use of Information Technology as part of necessary preparations for competition. Most of them are very used to the analogue aspect. At that it has been a very tedious one to be able to get all of these people together as touching the use of IT in preparing for the competition, accessing material for the competition and also training the students.
UNESCO Endorsed event
Ikulamberu noted the UNESCO endorsement the Spell&Thrill!™ got for the 2017 edition is a boost to its status.
“This edition of Spell&Thrill!™ is UNESCO endorsed. UNESCO is integrating the media and information literacy into school curricular all around the world. The global body has considered ST as a veritable platform to actually integrate that curriculum into school’s curriculum. This is our first engagement with UNESCO and it has been a good one. We are introducing it on the most basic level and we are hopeful that as the years roll by, it will be something we are going to be doing on a big scale with UNESCO.”
He used the opportunity to call on prospective partners among corporate organisations to key into the innovative project.
“The more, the merrier for us to be able to jointly stop paying lip service to education and let there be a level of reward for academic diligence and prowess. So, collaborators who still have the aphorism of education of being the best legacy at heart, this is the time for them to come up and team up with us on the ST platform.”
The project is currently being supported by ministries of education in Southwestern Nigeria, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Aare Afe Babalola; Eusam Educational Consult and the African office for the Media and Information Literacy curriculum.
After other state championships are held, the regional final of the competition holds on December 13th in Akure.