Kisumu County’s, Victor Ng’uono of MM Shah Kisumu took home the coveted trophy during a hotly contested battle at the recently concluded Kenya National Spelling Bee Championships held in Mombasa.
Victor Brian Maina (Nyeri Primary School) and Christina Njeri (Tender Care Nairobi) emerged 1st and second runners up respectively. The three students will represent Kenya at the African championships set to take place in Mombasa this September. The top three spellers of the National Spelling Bee Challenge will battle it out for the championship with pupils from 18 countries in Africa. Presented with words such as Diphthong, encumbrance,and schizophrenia, Victor Ng’uono sailed through making him the overall champ winning a scholarship worth shs. 500,000. 1st and 2nd Runners were awarded shs300,000 and shs100,000 respectively.
The Kenya National Spelling Bee judges were renowned Word Master, Mr. Willis Ochieng’ a writer and Journalist, High School Teacher and Author, Ms. Pasomi Mucha, English Teachers, Mr. Jeremiah Makau and Mr. Daniel Ochieng’.These teachers also received cheques worth Shs 50,000, 30,000 and 20,000 respectively.
Last year, Kenya shared position 2 in the African Spelling Bee championships with Ethiopia, while South Africa emerged top. The competition which started last year as a pilot program in Nairobi proved successful with three champions.
The Kenya National Spelling Bee (KNSB) is an English spelling competition, which is an adaptation of the Scripps National Spelling Bee which is an annual spelling competition held in the US and in Canada mainly to promote literacy. The KNSB was started in a quest to improve literacy in the English language as well as improve the reading culture among primary school pupils in Kenya.
The 2017 edition organized by the Kenya National Spelling Bee (KNSB) targeted 50 schools in each of the 47 counties. “3 students at school level were picked by individual participating school learners at the preliminary level, translating to approximately 235,000 participants in Standard Six and Seven, who then proceeded to compete in the county championships which took place around the country on 15th July 2017, the top three spellers at the county competition are here to battle it out and proceed to the African Spelling Bee’’, said KNSB Program Manager Mr. Eric Mosoti.
The competition was set to involve four rounds and the pupil who will emerge top in the national category, “Our key objective is to build a greater appreciation for the importance of spelling in the development of English language literacy among young learners in school” KNSB Program Manager, Mr. Eric Mosoti noted.
The African Spelling Bee was founded in 2016 by 10 Spelling Bee organisations from Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe and they had the very first African Spelling Bee in the same year in Johannesburg, South Africa, bringing together 27 National Champions from each of the countries to participate.
“Our research has shown people who are exposed to books and a lot of vocabularies are often good spellers, those very high-achieving spellers have heightened sensitivity to those letter patterns. However, we have noted with growing concern that with the advancement of technology, people have resorted to the use of spell checkers to auto-correct their spelling mistakes on mobile phones, computers, and laptops. Although a spell checker is a handy tool for general use, it will never fully take the place of educating yourself properly and polishing your vocabulary, grammar and writing skills’’ noted Principal Secretary for Education, Mr. Dr. Belio Kipsang.