, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – For those who have interacted with the younger generation- commonly referred to us millennials – you must have come across the annoying short forms of English words like say ‘kul’ for cool or ‘gr8t’ for great, a trend that educationists say has negatively hampered their school performance in English.
In what that would see a reverse of the worrying trend, over 50 schools per county are set to participate in the Kenya’s first ever National Spelling Competition launched on Monday.
The competition, an initiative of the Kenya National Spelling Bee (KNSB) will see participating class 6 and 7 pupils battle it out for the top prize- a scholarship- worth half a million shillings.
“This is seen as a solution to nip in the bud the worrying state of illiteracy among school going children where it has been reported that a Class 7 pupil cannot read and comprehend Class 2 school work,” KNSB Project Manager Angelha Bor said.
Bor noted that: “the problem trickles down to the workplace where employers have to spend time, money and other resources offering training to entrant employees on basic things such as research and content analysis.”
The initial stage of the competition will see schools compete internally and select the top three pupils to participate in the county championships, set to take place in 10 regions.
After that, the top three achievers will proceed to a tough competition at the national level.
Basic Education Director Abdi Habat has commended the initiative, which he says will not only motivate schools to participate but also pupils to cultivate a culture that promotes literacy.
“We look forward to a very engaging season and to Kenyan schools embracing spelling as an avenue of enriching and opening up the participants to a world of possibilities. The children will be able to read, spell, write and comprehend words as well as influence their peers to do the same and in the long haul, it will enhance literacy promoting and growth in Kenya,” he said.
Kenya National Spelling Bee is a registered educational organization that aims to encourage pupils, parents and teachers and the community as a whole to participate more in the education process.
Under the theme “Read to Succeed, KNSB intends to promote a reading culture and help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabulary, learn concepts and develop English usage to help them in their studies and beyond.