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Spelling geniuses excited about Addis

By Sam Okwakol - East African Business Week

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Three pupils in Uganda have been selected to represent Uganda at the African Spelling Bee competition in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia due in April 2017 writes SAM OKWAKOL.

Angela Aisu from Hillside Primary School in Kampala, Timothy Ninsiima from Masindi Army Day school in South Western Uganda, and Promise Kitara from Tororo Parents School in Eastern Uganda emerged the best spellers at the National competition and were thus cleared to represent Uganda at African Spelling Bee competition.

“It is important to work on literacy of young people and there’s no better way of achieving this other than spelling,” Deborah R. Malac, US Ambassador to Uganda said while officiating as Chief Guest at the National Spelling Bee Champions recently.  

Ambassador Malac said children should be mentored and encouraged to take part in competitions like spelling bee to motivate them to read widely. 

“It takes courage for a young child to stand before a big crowd of people and spell words. We must encourage this as we seek to build exposure and confidence of our children,” Ambassador Malac said. 

The Chief Executive Officer, Enjuba Uganda, Aaron Kirunda, who organized the Spelling Bee competition said: “We believe that investing in early literacy is one of the most effective ways to help improve individual children’s outcomes while at the same time improving schools on the whole. At enjuba we empower the next generation through Spelling Bees that are key in improving literacy, helping children develop key life skills and unlocking their imagination so they can achieve their dreams.”

Spelling Bee is a concept believed to have originated in the United States and has now spread to other countries around the world. It is a competition in which contestants are asked to spell a broad selection of words, usually with a varying degree of difficulty.

The National Spelling Bee finale was supported by the Ministry of Education, US Embassy, Peace Corps, Enjuba, Mixakids and Dstv.

DStv’s Marketing Manager, Phoebe Nakabazzi, said DStv Uganda was proud to be affiliated to this initiative. “We are certain that we are positively impacting the lives of our future leaders not only through our educational channels but also through strong partnerships,” 

Hillside Primary School emerged the overall winners of the National competition, Tororo Parents Primary School and Victorious Primary school tide in the second position while Masindi Army Day Primary school was the third runner-up. 

However, the three pupils selected to represent Ugandan, were chosen on the basis of their individual brilliance. Nineteen schools cross different regions in Uganda had taken part at the national competition.  

Experts say spelling is important because it aids in reading. It helps cement the connection that is shared between sounds and letters. Learning high frequency sight words also has been shown to help with both reading and writing. This is why students learn sight words during their early years. Spelling and reading also have a common factor, proficiency with language.